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Talking Sport: Olsson can take pride
WHATEVER Martin Olsson’s future at Blackburn Rovers, seeing him play at Euro 2012 seemed an awful long way from the night when I accidentally left him stranded without a team bus at Morecambe’s Christie Park.
By chance, the ticket I had obtained in the pre-tournament ballot turned out to be for Sweden versus France in Kiev last week and to see Olsson play in such a magnificent arena – in front of 60,000 fans – was a pleasure after watching him emerge at Rovers.
Three years earlier Olsson had been such a peripheral figure that a post-match interview with the Lancashire Telegraph meant the team coach inadvertently left without him after a reserve game at Morecambe. One of football’s good guys, he took it in good grace and after a few minutes stood by the side of the road, the bus did eventually return.
Sweden went out in the group stage at Euro 2012 but Olsson can be proud of how far he has come, playing in all three matches.
His country, in contrast to England and France, were backed by thousands and thousands of travelling supporters – filling the stadium and the ‘fan zone’ in the surreal setting of Independence Square, where Ukraine’s Orange Revolution took place in 2004.
Some even had shirts bearing the name of John Guidetti, the former Burnley loanee who just missed out on the Swedish squad.
In the stadium in Kiev, Ukraine fans erupted in celebration at news of a goal from Donetsk. Sadly for them, it was crossed wires and England had scored, not the hosts.
Not that it did us much good in the end. One suspects Ukraine might have at least given it more of a go against Italy.