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Sweden's farewell to the Råsunda

Published: Thursday 16 August 2012, 11.19CET
Brazil won 3-0 as Sweden bade farewell to the Råsunda Stadium, but Blågult fans – not to mention a certain Pelé – will always have fond memories of the venue in Solna.
by Sujay Dutt
from Råsunda Stadium
Sweden's farewell to the Råsunda
The Råsunda Stadium has staged its last international game ©Getty Images

Published: Thursday 16 August 2012, 11.19CET

Sweden's farewell to the Råsunda

Brazil won 3-0 as Sweden bade farewell to the Råsunda Stadium, but Blågult fans – not to mention a certain Pelé – will always have fond memories of the venue in Solna.

The age of the Råsunda Stadium finished on Wednesday as it had started in 1937 – with a Sweden defeat. However, despite the 3-0 loss to 2014 FIFA World Cup hosts Brazil, Blågult fans' memories of the venue – set to be replaced by a new purpose-built arena barely a kilometre away – have been more good than bad.

Although AIK Solna and Malmö FF had met in the first game at the Råsunda in April 1937, the formal inauguration came on 17 May when Sweden succumbed 4-0 to England in a friendly. Their first competitive match, a few weeks later, put Sweden on the winning path though, with the home side recording a 4-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory over Finland.

Sweden's last competitive game at the stadium also ended triumphantly, 3-2 against the Netherlands in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier. However, there would be no fairy-tale goodbye on Wednesday, with Pato's penalty destined to be recorded as the last international goal scored at the Råsunda.

Yet, appropriately, Pelé was on hand for the ceremony preceding the farewell match – Edson Arantes do Nascimento having made his name as a 17-year-old with two goals in Brazil's 5-2 success over Sweden in the 1958 World Cup final. "Even though the stadium will no longer stand, the name Råsunda will never die," Pelé had said earlier in the week.

The only venue, along with the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, to have staged both men's and women's World Cup finals, the Råsunda played host to 195 men's senior games – with Sweden registering 116 wins, 43 draws and 36 defeats. Gunnar Gren netted the most Sweden goals at the ground (16), although Henry 'Garvis' Carlsson stands as the overall Råsunda top scorer with 60 for AIK and eight for Sweden. A block of apartments and offices will be erected on the site of the stadium, with one of the main thoroughfares to be named Garvis Carlsson Street.

AIK will continue to play at the Råsunda until 4 November, with their last match – echoing 1937 – against Malmö.

Three great Råsunda games

Sweden 2-5 Brazil
29/06/58, FIFA World Cup final
Sweden had played three group matches and a quarter-final at the Råsunda en route to the showpiece, and confidence was boosted even more when Nils Liedholm opened the scoring against Brazil. However, the visitors – with Didi, Vavá, Garrincha and Pelé in their starting XI – stormed back to claim their first world title, Vavá and Pelé both netting twice.

Sweden 2-1 England
17/06/92, EURO '92 group stage
Sweden had four points and knew England needed a win in their final group fixture to reach the knockout phase. The hosts trailed to a fourth-minute David Platt effort before bringing the Råsunda crowd to their feet. Jan Eriksson's header made it 1-1 and Thomas Brolin then hit the memorable winner, after one-twos with both Klas Ingesson and Martin Dahlin.

Sweden 3-2 Netherlands
11/10/11, UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier
The final competitive game at the Råsunda was also Sweden's last opportunity to earn a UEFA EURO 2012 place. Undaunted by opponents who had not dropped a point in nine group outings, Kim Källström gave Sweden the perfect start with a curling free-kick, yet when the Dutch equalised and then went ahead, things looked bleak. However, Sebastian Larsson and Ola Toivonen turned it around in a dramatic second half.

Last updated: 08/05/14 9.07CET

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