Sweden qualified for their first ever UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals in dramatic fashion. Needing a draw in the last match of the elite round, the Swedes had to wait until added time against Hungary to achieve the desired result. Prolific scorer Valmir Berisha headed in the crucial goal to earn a 1-1 draw. Gentrit Citaku and Christer Lipovac are other players who established fine scoring records in qualifying, with midfielders Elias Andersson and Isak Ssewankambo and central defender Linus Wahlqvist forming the backbone of the team.
Roland Larsson has been in charge of the side since 1998, and believes this crop is as good as he has seen. "When we beat Bulgaria away last year, I started to believe that this would be possible," he said.
Elias Andersson (midfielder, Helsingborgs IF), Gentrit Citaku (midfielder, IFK Norrköping), Isak Ssewankambo (midfielder, Chelsea FC)
Coach: Roland Larsson
Date of Birth: 27 January 1962
Playing career: Svedala IF, Minnesbergs IF
Coaching career: Svedala IF youth, Svedala IF, Trelleborgs FF youth, Sweden U16/U17
After playing lower league football in southern Sweden Larsson decided early on that his career lay off the pitch. After studying his first coaching course at the age of 15 he took charge of first team football soon after.
The coach also has a degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for several newspapers before Allsvenskan club Trelleborgs FF gave a chance to dedicate himself full-time to football in 1993 as Larsson was put in charge of the youth ranks. From there he was plucked by the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) in 1998 to manage the national youth side at U16 level and he has remained in the position ever since.
Qualifying top scorer
Valmir Berisha: 5
UEFA European Under-17 Championship best
First finals qualification
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.