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  Team Profiles  »  Sweden

  

Group C: Sweden Qualified as winner of Group 4
Sweden think semi-final place is real possibility
 

A mix of rugged veterans and youthful talent makes today's Sweden a less dull side than in the late 1990s, and they travel to Euro 2004 hungry to avenge their golden-goal exit from the 2002 World Cup.

The step-by-step improvements made since they fell away badly soon after finishing third -- led by magic-touch trickster Tomas Brolin -- at the 1994 World Cup suggests that Sweden could make the last four in Portugal.

The Swedes conceded only three goals in the qualifiers, grabbing top spot in Group Four ahead of Latvia, Poland and Hungary, and their well-organised defence is a formidable challenge for any opponents.

Coaching duo Tommy Soderberg and Lars Lagerback have the luxury of choosing between four trustworthy central defenders -- Aston Villa's Olof Mellberg, Celtic's Johan Mjallby, Brondby's Andreas Jakobsson and Southampton's Michael Svensson -- in front of Andreas Isaksson, the towering Djurgarden goalkeeper who will be watched closely by many scouts in Portugal.

Two players stand out in a midfield more attack-oriented than anything Sweden have had since their 1950s heyday -- the tireless Fredrik Ljungberg has a great nose for goal and Kim Kallstrom possesses a thundering left-foot shot.

Arsenal's Ljungberg is already an established European player while the 21-year-old Kallstrom, who moved to Stade Rennes from Djurgarden in December, is expected to get his big international breakthrough at Euro 2004 next month.

Anders Svensson adds imagination and tenacity to the attack. The Southampton midfielder fired a shot against the post in Sweden's World Cup 2002 second-round clash against Senegal before the Africans clinched the match with a golden goal.

Up front Sweden are delighted their top scorer Henrik Larsson has gone back on his decision after the 2002 World Cup to retire from the national team.

The prolific Celtic striker, winner of the Golden Shoe award as Europe's top club scorer in 2000-01, has 24 goals to his credit from 73 internationals since 1993.

Sweden also have in their ranks one of Europe's most eye-catching young forwards, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The tall, 22-year-old Ajax Amsterdam striker with Brazil-quality ball control and spell-binding dribbling technique has netted seven times in 21 internationals.

For years a team content to kick long balls into the opponents' box for Larsson to chase, Sweden have evolved into a side playing the ball forward through a variety of combinations utilising Ljungberg's speed and, lately, Kallstrom's fire power.

But their flanks look vulnerable in defence, right and left.

Sweden are drawn with Italy, Denmark and Bulgaria in Group C.

The glory of 1994 soon turned into despair as Sweden failed to qualify for the 1996 European Championship and suffered the same fate in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers.

A rejuvenated side made it to Euro 2000 but was sent packing after the group stage, having managed only one draw and two losses.

Sweden marched unbeaten through the 2002 World Cup qualifiers and surprised themselves when they reached the second round by winning the tournament's Group of Death with Argentina, England and Nigeria.

The triumphs in Japan and South Korea raised expectations back home to fever pitch and the disappointment among fans after the second-round defeat by Senegal knew no limits.

Coaches Soderberg and Lagerback, keen to promote team harmony, blamed nobody and set out to repair the bruised self-confidence of many players.

The Euro 2004 qualification campaign turned into yet another success for the duo known in the local media as Lars-Tommy.

An even greater success could lie ahead.
- Oliver Grassman

 « Star Player »

Name Henrik Larsson
Position Forward
Club Celtic
DOB 20.09.1971

Return of Larsson boosts Sweden's chances

A decade after helping Sweden to finish third at the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States, Henrik Larsson's decision to return to international football could inspire his country to another strong finish at Euro 2004.
Certainly, Sweden appear to believe their hopes rest with the prodigious Celtic striker, who quit after...   [more]

 

 « Star Player »

Name Fredrik Ljungberg
Position Midfielder
Club Arsenal
DOB 16.04.1977

Time for the real  Ljungberg to please stand up

Euro 2004 offers Sweden's model performer Fredrik Ljungberg the opportunity to finally prove himself a genuine world-class act on the international stage.
Sweden's best-known player alongside Henrik Larsson, the Arsenal midfielder has often struggled to replicate...   [more]

 

 « The Coach »
Popular Swedish coaching duo want to sign off in style
Sweden's coaching double act of Tommy Soderberg and Lars Lagerback have masterminded three strong qualifying campaigns but have yet to make an impact at a major tournament.
Soderberg, formerly a gymnastics teacher, was joined by Lagerback as assistant coach in 1997 and the pair have become synonymous with consistency.
The European Championship finals in Portugal starting on June 12 will be the last chance for the pair to cover themselves in glory on the international stage before Soderberg retires.
"The dream is to finish everything in Portugal, then I'll step aside", Soderberg said.
Euro 2004, in which Sweden face Bulgaria, Denmark and Italy in Group C, will be their third tournament at the helm but unlike their predecessor Tommy Svensson, who steered Sweden to third place in the 1994 World Cup in the United States, they are yet to taste real success.
At Euro 2000 in the Netherlands and Belgium, Sweden managed only a draw and two losses, failing to survive the group stage.
They did better at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, topping the so-called "Group of Death" with Argentina, England and Nigeria before suffering an upset loss to Senegal.
Soderberg and Lagerback are often described as the theorist and the practitioner, the mild-mannered Soderberg bonding with players on the training ground and the more stern and intellectual-looking Lagerback providing the tactical input.
Since Lagerback was promoted from assistant to Soderberg's equal in 1999 the pair have become known for not taking risks over team selection and for fostering a strong team spirit.
They may need a touch of adventure in their approach, however, if they are to take Sweden further than before.

 

 « The Squad »

 Sweden

Players DOB Club Cap Goal
Lars Lagerback C 16.07.1948
Tommy Soderberg C 19.08.1948
1. Andreas Isaksson G 03.10.1981 Djurgarden
12. Magnus Hedman G 19.03.1973 Ancona
23. Magnus Kihlstedt  G 29.02.1972 Copenhagen
5. Erik Edman D 11.11.1978 Heerenveen
2. Teddy Lucic D 15.04.1973 Leverkusen
3. Olof Mellberg D 03.09.1977 Aston Villa
4. Johan Mjällby D 09.02.1971 Celtic
14. Alexander Ostlund D Hammarby
15. Andreas Jakobsson D 06.10.1972 Brondby
22. Erik Wahlstedt D Helsingborg
13. Petter Hansson D Heerenveen
17. Anders Andersson M 15.03.1974 Belenenses
16. Kim Källström M 24.08.1982 Rennes
6. Tobias Linderoth M 21.04.1979 Everton
9. Fredrik Ljungberg M 16.04.1977 Arsenal
7. Mikael Nilsson M 24.06.1978 Halmstad
8. Anders Svensson M 17.07.1976 Southampton
21. Christian Wilhelmsson M Anderlecht
19. Pontus Farnerud M 04.06.1980 Strasbourg
20. Marcus Allbäck F 05.07.1973 Aston Villa
10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic F 03.10.1981 Ajax
18. Mattias Jonson F 16.01.1974 Brondby
11. Henrik Larsson F 20.09.1971 Celtic
 

 

 

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Federation
Svenska Fotbollforbundet (1904)
Headquarter
Rasunda Stadion - 17123 Solna
Website
www.svenskfotboll.se
President
Lars Ake Lagrell
Best Performance in Finals Semi-Finalists in 1992
Recent record in Finals
1980 DNQ
1984 DNQ
1988 DNQ
1992 Semi-final
1996 DNQ
2000 Round-1

 

 « Road to Portugal »

0-0
1-1
2-1
6-0
3-0
5-0
2-0
0-1

v Latvia
v Hungary
v Hungary
v San Marino
v Poland
v San Marino
v Poland
v Latvia
A
H
A
A
A
H
H
H

 

 « Final Tournament »

C v Bulgaria

   2045 CET 14 June 2004

C v Italy

   2045 CET 18 June 2004

C v Denamrk

   2045 CET 22 June 2004

 

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