At the start of the second half I was still sending out images as the internet in the arena had slowed down to a crawl. With Sweden now attacking towards me I saw that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been substituted and decided it would be best to pack it up and move to the other side of the pitch.
Unfortunately with a scoreline of 3-1 Argenitna decided to put their foot on the break and take it easy. Now while the game slowed down considerably I have to applaud Argentina for keeping Messi on for the full 90 minutes. Every time Argentina substituted a player I expected it would be Messi to be come out. Yet he stayed out for the full match. A nice sign of respect for a crowd that very much came out to see him.
I also got the feeling that while Messi was not playing at top speed he very much wanted to give the public a goal and put his name on the scoresheet.
He came very close to doing it in absolute style when he stopped a ball in Sweden’s box and then chipped it over Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson. You can see it in the images bellow. It would have been the highlight of the evening but
Andreas Isaksson managed to make a world class clearance from the goal line.
Unfortunately the highlight of the evening became the second pitch invader who managed to run on to the pitch and give Leo Messi a hug before security got a hold of him and escorted him out.
One has to wonder how not one but two people managed to run out into the pitch in one evening.
There was also some sad behavior displayed from a group of Argentina supporters who displayed a banner late in the second half abusing Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It’s not something that is never excusable but doing it in a meaningless friendly with such a relaxed atmosphere seem especially ignorant.
In the end Sweden was able to save some face as Rasmus Elm scored from a free kick at the 90th minute and reduced the scoreline to a respectable 2-3.
The next game at Friends Arena will be on the 22nd of March and it’s a World Cup qualification match against Ireland. Naturally your truly will be there and I’m really looking forward to seeing a game in this arena that has some fight in it and is not just a friendly. Hopefully the Irish fans come out in full force, not disappointing, and bringing everything we love about team. Lot’s of drinking and lot’s of singing. Ireland is also coached by Giovanni Trapattoni, who is one of the most decorated Italian coaches of all time. It will be great to get some shoots of his, and he can be especially hysterical on the sidelines.
All images from this game are available, as always, via Pic-Agency.