The deadline for all teams taking part in this summer’s Euro 2016 passed at midnight. It was a day of heartache and joy for many players across the continent. Jimmy Durmaz was selected in Sweden’s 23-man squad.
Durmaz’s selection for Sweden sees him as the sole representative of Olympiakos in the continent’s premier international event taking place this month in France.
Sweden reached the tournament after finishing third in Group G of qualifying, behind Austria & Russia, with a record of W5 D3 L2 from their ten games.
Following their third place finish they saw off fierce rivals, and neighbours, Denmark in a two-legged playoff. Durmaz started the first legged and was on the bench for the entire second leg. Sweden prevailed in a fierce encounter, 4-3 winners on aggregate.
The Swedes have long history of playing international football, with an Olympic Gold in 1948 as their biggest success to date. Semi-finalists in 1992’s European Championship and runner-up in the 1958 World Cup have been their other notable near-misses of intenational achievement.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line, the country can dare to dream of causing an upset reaching the final stages of the competition, if not going all the way to lifting the trophy. Sweden won’t have an easy ride this summer, however, being drawn in arguably the toughest group of the lot. Sweden enter the competiton in Group E, along side; Belgium, Italy & Republic of Ireland.
With no Greece in this year’s competition, all Olympiakos fans will be behind Jimmy Durmaz, without doubt. Durmaz has had a fine second season in Piraeus, forging a fearsome front three with Brown Ideye and Kostas Fortounis as the Reds strolled to league title success.
Good luck, Jimmy. Good luck, Sweden… the whole of the Thrylos family is behind you, do your club and country proud this summer.
– Bob Beans, 1 June 2016