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03rd Jul 2018

Celtic’s Mikael Lustig reveals Sweden’s plans to get Granit Xhaka sent off

The Arsenal midfielder has a certain reputation

Darragh Murphy

More than one Swedish player has admitted the plan to target Granit Xhaka in their Round of 16 clash on Tuesday afternoon.

Sweden and Switzerland will meet at the Saint Petersburg Stadium with the winners set to face either England or Colombia in the quarter-finals.

And both Mikael Lustig and John Guidetti have hinted at a strategy to play on Xhaka’s temperament to gain a man advantage.

“We have heard that he has received many red cards in the Premier League,” Lustig said, via the Telegraph. “We have to keep cool – and try to get him sent off the pitch.”

Xhaka received nine red cards for club and country between 2014 and 2017 and has already found himself in hot water at the World Cup, after celebrating his equaliser against Serbia by making the gesture of the Albanian eagle with his hands.

The Switzerland midfielder was fined 10,000 Swiss francs for the provocative celebration and Guidetti has suggested that Xhaka will have to be on his best behaviour in the knockout game.

“If he receives a booking early on, he will have to decide in each and every duel whether he will withdraw his legs,” the Swedish forward said.

Xhaka has a reputation for losing the rag when things don’t go his way but he seems to have gotten his temper under control recently, avoiding red cards for the past year-and-a-half.

“Friends have been telling me what the player had said – no problem for me,” Xhaka said.

“It is part of the pre-match provocations. This is not my first match. I have learnt quite a few things in my playing life and I’m confident I won’t be squeezed out of the game. I sleep all right.”