Soccer-Kulusevski returns as Sweden up the ante against Slovakia


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - League A - Group 3 - Sweden v Croatia - Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden - November 14, 2020 Sweden's Dejan Kulusevski in action with Croatia's Mateo Kovacic TT News Agency via REUTERS/Henrik Montgomery/tt

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The return of winger Dejan Kulusevksi to face Slovakia will bolster Sweden's attacking options following an ultra-defensive display against Spain that earned them a scoreless draw, but few new fans at Euro 2020.

Janne Andersson's side stifled the Spaniards in Seville as Juventus winger Kulusevksi watched on TV, isolated from his team mates along with midfielder Mattias Svanberg following positive tests for COVID-19.

Having never lost to the Slovakians, Andersson indicated that he and his side are unlikely to show them the same level of respect as they did to Spain.

"We have everything in our toolbox based on what we have practised, what we have prepared for and how we have played in different games these last few years," Andersson told reporters.

"We have shared experiences of different opponents and the tactical flexibility in particular is a key -- that we can handle different opponents and find the right weapon in every game that we should use to succeed," he added.

Sweden striker Alexander Isak, who had a shot turned onto a post in the first half and created a chance that Marcus Berg should have scored from in the second, should lead the line, and he has good memories of playing against the Slovakians.

Isak netted his first international goals against Slovakia in January 2017 aged 17 years 113 days, making him the youngest player to score for Sweden.

The Swedes will face a tough task in Slovakia, who beat Poland 2-1 to top the group after the first round of games with Milan Skriniar getting the winner.

With no injury problems reported, Stefan Tarkovic has a full Slovakia squad to choose from, while Sweden's Mikael Lustig may miss out after suffering a groin strain against Spain.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)

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