Sweden midfielder Emil Forsberg said his side would be better at the World Cup with Zlatan Ibrahimovic but that his absence should no longer matter.
Ibrahimovic, 36, retired from international competition following Euro 2016, and although he often spoke of returning for the World Cup, the LA Galaxy striker ultimately decided against it in April.
"We made it to the World Cup without Ibrahimovic," Forsberg told this week's edition of Sport Bild in an interview conducted prior to the start of the World Cup. "But it's a fact: Sweden would be better with Zlatan.
"But he's not with us now and it should no longer be an issue. We are strong as a team, always bring in our mentality and passion."
Sweden won their opener against South Korea 1-0 and will face Germany, who lost 1-0 to Mexico, in the teams' second Group F game on Saturday.
Germany international Timo Werner, Forsberg's RB Leipzig teammate, also believed Ibrahimovic's presence would have been a boost to the World Cup.
"I can understand Emil -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an outstanding footballer who can make a difference," Werner said. "Another star would have been good for the World Cup. That's why it's a bit of a shame. But Sweden is strong enough."