By Philip O'Connor
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden coach Erik Hamren said it was too soon to consider his future after the national side lost their World Cup playoff to Portugal due to the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo's hat-trick of second-half goals during Tuesday's second leg in Stockholm gave Portugal a 4-2 aggregate win and a place in next year's tournament in Brazil.
Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored twice, said he was "very positive" about continuing to represent the national team but Hamren was more circumspect about his plans.
"Today it's too early to talk about that, I'm just too disappointed," the coach, whose contract is due to expire at the end of 2013, told Reuters on Wednesday.
"I just want to go to bed and stay there. But we'll have that discussion in a short while. It's a fantastic job, but we'll see."
Hamren told reporters directly after the painful defeat that he had "a mutual interest" with the Swedish FA in discussing an extension to his contract despite failing to reach the finals.
From the moment Europe's World Cup qualifying draw was made, it was an uphill task for Sweden whose group included Germany, Austria and Ireland.
After securing second place in their final Group C fixture with a home win against Austria, Sweden were then drawn in a two-legged playoff against a Portugal side boasting Ronaldo in the form of his life.
"We had a very good try, but we didn't succeed. We have an expression: 'The operation was good put the patient died.' It's like that today," said Hamren, whose side lost 1-0 in the first leg after a late diving header by Ronaldo.
"Defensively we played a very good game in Lisbon and here (in Stockholm) we were close, but Portugal were the better team before, they were better ranked and they were better in the end too.
"They won and we have to congratulate them, they were stronger than us."
Despite his obvious disappointment, Hamren was still able to show his sense of humor when asked if Portugal and Germany would be contenders for the World Cup.
"Of course," he said, laughing. "If they've beaten us they're going to be among the best teams in the World Cup."
With Norway, Denmark and Finland failing to get out of their groups and Sweden and Iceland falling in the playoffs, there will be no Nordic representation at the 2014 World Cup.
Hamren believes Sweden needs to have more children playing football in the future.
"If you look at Portugal, football is the biggest thing, and it is in Sweden too, but you have competition from ice hockey and so on, "he said. "We have a lot of computers and so on - we need the kids to be out and playing.
"I think you have to accept that in the smaller countries, and in the climate we live in, it goes up and down. Sometimes you have a really strong squad of players, sometimes not. The bigger football countries produce players regularly."
(Editing by Alison Wildey)
- Sports & Recreation
- Cristiano Ronaldo