Sweden will host Belgium in their opening qualifier for Euro 2024, and the big news is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made the cut. The Swedish star retired from international football in 2016, but has returned to his national duties almost five years on. At 41 years old, Ibrahimovic smashed another record as he became the oldest goal scorer in Serie A over the weekend. However, he faces tough competition from Belgium star Kevin De Bruyne, who will be eager to prove a point following the Red Devils’ embarrassing elimination from the World Cup. Belgium will also be looking to repeat history from the Euro 2016 encounter.
The match is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 24, at 7:45pm GMT (8:45pm local time) at Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. The stadium has a maximum capacity of 50,000. Belgium secured a 1-0 win when the teams last met in the 2016 Euros.
For those in the UK, the match will be broadcast live on Viaplay 2 and can also be streamed on the Viaplay website.
In terms of team news, Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns to the Sweden squad for the first time in five years. However, he faces competition from Newcastle star Alexander Isak, who has been in phenomenal form. The Sweden squad also includes goalkeepers Viktor Johansson, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, and Robin Olsen; defenders Joel Andersson, Ludwig Augustinsson, Hjalmar Ekdal, Gabriel Gudmundsson, Isak Hien, Emil Holm, Edvin Kurtulus, Victor Lindelof, and Carl Starfelt; midfielders Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Samuel Gustafson, Jesper Karlstrom, Kristoffer Olsson, and Mattias Svanberg; and forwards Anthony Elanga, Viktor Gyokeres, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexander Isak, Jesper Karlsson, Dejan Kulusevski, Robin Quaison, and Viktor Claesson.
Meanwhile, Belgium’s squad includes goalkeepers Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Thomas Kaminski (Blackburn Rovers), and Matz Sels (Racing Strasbourg); defenders Sebastiaan Bornauw (VfL Wolfsburg), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Wout Faes (Leicester City), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Arthur Theate (Stade Rennes), and Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht); midfielders Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Charles De Ketelaere (AC Milan), Romeo Lavia (Southampton), Orel Mangala (Nottingham Forest), Amadou Onana (Everton), Dennis Praet (Leicester City), and Alexis Saelemaekers (AC Milan); and forwards Jeremy Doku (Stade Rennes), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dodi Lukebakio (Hertha Berlin), Lois Openda (Racing Lens), and Leandro Trossard (Arsenal).
It will be interesting to see how both teams perform in this crucial qualifier for Euro 2024. With Ibrahimovic back in the Sweden squad and De Bruyne eager to prove a point for Belgium, it promises to be an exciting match.