FIFA Ranking: 17
Coach: Erik Hamren
Route to qualification
Sweden’s mission for qualification got off to a flying start when they beat Hungary 2-0 and butchered San Marino 6-0 in early September 2010. Their next game was against Netherlands, their toughest opponents in the group, and they lost heavily- conceding four goals and scoring just one. However, Sweden bounced back immediately to beat Moldova 2-1 at home and by an even greater margin of 4-1 in the reverse fixture. They humbled traditional rivals Finland 5-0 in June 2011. Hungary avenged their loss by beating Sweden 2-1 in the reverse fixture. After this loss, Sweden won all their remaining qualifiers as they slotted five goals past San Marino, two past Finland and three past the mighty Dutch. Though Sweden did not finish on top of their group, they qualified directly for the finals as the best runners-up.
European championships history
Euro 2012 is only the fifth time that the Swedes have qualified for Europe’s top-most event. Sweden’s maiden European appearance in 1992 was also their best ever European performance, where they reached the semi-final of the event. They managed to reach the quarter-final of the 2004 edition before losing to Netherlands on penalties.
Placed in Group D, Sweden are ranked above only the hosts Ukraine. Their first group match, played at Olympic Stadium in Kiev on 11 June 2012, is also against the hosts. Their next clash is with England, the highest ranked team in the group, which is probably their toughest group game. They finish their group proceedings on June 19 against France, who have been resurgent under their dynamic coach Laurent Blanc.
Erik Hamren announced his 23-man squad for the Euro on the 14th of May, 2012. Johan Elmander is a surprise inclusion in the squad, despite a broken metatarsal. Barring any aggravation, he is expected to recover in time for the tournament. However, the highly talented 20-year-old player John Guidetti, who scored 20 goals for Feyenrood this season, was omitted from the squad due to illness. On the whole, Hamren has managed to select a squad which contains a blend of youth and experience.
Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson, Johan Wiland, Pär Hansson
Defenders: Mikael Lustig, Olof Mellberg, Andreas Granqvist, Martin Olsson, Jonas Olsson, Behrang Safari, Mikael Antonsson
Midfielders: Rasmus Elm, Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom, Anders Svensson, Pontus Wernbloom, Samuel Holmen, Emir Bajrami, Christian Wilhelmsson
Strikers: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Johan Elmander, Tobias Hysen, Ola Toivonen, Marcus Rosenberg
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Sweden’s captain, is probably one of the best strikers Sweden has ever produced. The 30-year old player has had an eventful club career with various European bigwigs that include Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and his current club AC Milan. With five goals in his kitty, he was also the team’s highest scorer during the qualifier. He has been in fine form in the past one year, scoring 28 goals for Milan in just 32 games.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.