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On Wednesday the moment Sweden has been waiting for arrives when they kick off UEFA Women's EURO 2013 against Denmark in Gothenburg and Sofia Jakobsson says it feels "super great".
While Lotta Schelin and Kosovare Asllani are tipped to start up front for the hosts, Jakobsson's superb form for new club Chelsea LFC – she is the FA Women's Super League top scorer – has put her in the frame. The 23-year-old speaks to UEFA.com about her excitement and playing under Pia Sundhage.
UEFA.com: What does it mean to you to play as hosts?
Sofia Jakobsson: It's something you've always dreamt of, to be in this team and perhaps even be a part of the starting XI – that's totally great. To experience a EURO at home and be a part of it, and you have to smile every time you think about it. It feels super great.
UEFA.com: How have things changed since Pia Sundhage became coach last autumn?
Jakobsson: There have been changes for everyone. She has brought a lot of good energy, to get all the players to show what they are capable of, even more than before. It's a new management, with new views on everybody. The tempo is quite high and everyone seems keen to fight for a place in the team.
UEFA.com: Denmark, Italy and Finland are your opponents in Group A. What do you expect from them?
Jakobsson: They're going to be tough games. I haven't met any of them at this level, but I know Denmark have a lot of great players. They're a good team, skilled in passing, so it's going to be a tough opening game. It's vital we are able to perform at the highest level.
Then Finland, a more powerful team, more physical, so we have to get out there with our own physicality and direct the game. I played against Italy at youth level. They're a very skilled team with good passing play, but perhaps their physique can benefit us. We should be able to beat them after 90 minutes because we have a better physique.
UEFA.com: How much of a boost was your FIFA Women's World Cup bronze?
Jakobsson: We showed that we are a very good team, winning bronze, and we can take a great feeling away from that. Some things you want to repeat, and now you want to achieve even greater things. It feels like this EURO is our EURO. We will have to be at our best to be able to experience something as great as that again.
UEFA.com: Can you highlight some players you think will make a difference to Sweden's performance?
Jakobsson: I believe in the whole team. We will have to get a group together that works, but at the same time we do have star players, especially Lotta [Schelin], who is fantastic. If she's at her best then it will be very good for us. Caroline Seger is a great football player, one of the best I've seen. We have many great players, but I believe in getting the group together. Playing well together is going to be the recipe for progress.
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