Sweden will want to help prolong the career of one of their all-time greats â€“ Zlatan Ibrahimovic â€“ by beating Belgium in their final Group E Euro 2016 match on Wednesday. Sweden must win to stay alive in Euro 2016, and with it extend Ibrahimovic's international career by at least one more match.
Ibrahimovic revealed his decision to hang up his international boots after this tournament, and with Sweden fighting for their Euro 2016 lives, this match in Nice could very well be the enigmatic striker's international swansong.
"Zlatan means a lot to us, as he's shown in the past," Sweden manager Erik Hamren told UEFA's official website. "In qualifying he decided most of our games, and he's a big part of our attack but he can't do it alone. We have to be better in our offence as a team."
The problem for Sweden is that not only do they run up against a formidable Belgium side, but they play a Belgium side equally in need of a positive result. With one win and one loss, Belgium need at least one point from this match against Sweden to ensure their progress into the last 16. So, if Belgium do get that point, it will mean the end of the road for Ibrahimovic and Sweden, because two points from three matches will not be enough to keep their Euro 2016 dream afloat.
Great players step up when there is big pressure, and if Ibrahimovic wants to continue playing for Sweden, he needs to come to the party against Belgium. Without a goal in two matches, there is no better time for him and his country to fire in front of goal, than in this match in Nice.
"To finish in a disappointment â€“ never," Ibrahimovic said when asked if he thinks this will be his last international game. "Because I'm very proud to be the captain of Sweden and of what I've achieved."
As determined as Ibrahimovic might be, though, what reality shows us is that Sweden are yet to get a shot on target, having played two full matches â€“ the only goal they have scored in Euro 2016 came via an own goal. Belgium will know of Sweden's struggles, and with a buzzing attacking lineup in tow, following the 3-0 hammering of the Republic of Ireland, the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku will be confident of finishing their group campaign with three points.
"Zlatan could be a danger because it is perhaps his final game and he will obviously want to go out with a bang," Belgium manager Marc Wilmots said. "But that will depend on us. We must avoid any emotional attachment.
"Even if the manager is going to retire, even if Ibrahimovic is going to retire, even if other players are going to retire. That is Sweden's issue, not ours.
"This is another cup final. I hope we have a lot of possession, pass the ball about well and make them run as much as possible, while managing to create a lot of chances and, hopefully, putting them away."
Where to Watch Live
Sweden vs Belgium -- Group E match -- is set to begin at 9 p.m. local time (12.30 a.m. IST, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET). All the live streaming and TV information is below.
UK: TV: ITV4. Live Streaming: ITV Hub.
Belgium: TV: Een, RTBF.
Sweden: TV: TV4.
France: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
USA: TV: ESPN 2 and ESPN 3. Live Streaming: Watch ESPN.
Canada: TV: TSN and RDS. Live Streaming: TSN TV.
Australia: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
New Zealand: TV: Sky Sport. Live Streaming: Sky Go NZ.
Singapore: TV: Eleven Singapore and Singtel. Live Streaming: Singtel Go.
Middle East and North Africa: TV: Bein Sports Max. Live Streaming: Bein SportsConnect.
South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: TV: SuperSport 3. Live Streaming: SuperSport
Germany: TV: ZDF and ORF.
China and Hong Kong: TV: CCTV and LeTV.
Thailand: TV: Channel 3.
Malaysia: TV: Astro.
Latin America: TV: DirecTV.