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UEFA EURO contenders in focus: Sweden

Sweden had never been involved in a EURO final tournament prior to hosting in 1992 but have now qualified for six on the bounce.

The inimitable Zlatan celebrates a goal at UEFA EURO 2004
The inimitable Zlatan celebrates a goal at UEFA EURO 2004

EURO pedigree

Final tournaments: 6
EURO best: semi-final (1992)

Sweden’s best EURO performance to date came in 1992 and was something of a Cinderella story. The national team had underperformed for more than a decade when Tommy Svensson’s young side managed to top a group containing England, France and eventual winners Denmark. Semi-final opponents Germany proved too strong, but by then Swedish football had recaptured lost confidence.

Key players

Watch all Sweden's EURO 2020 qualifying goals
Watch all Sweden's EURO 2020 qualifying goals

Robin Olsen (43 caps, 0 goals)
After bouncing around between lower-level clubs in southern Sweden, the keeper had turned 24 by the time of his breakthrough with home-town giants Malmö. A dominant presence between the posts, Olsen is also blessed with quick reflexes and a calm mindset.

Emil Forsberg (57 caps, 8 goals)
The attacking midfielder often operates from the left wing and is one of Sweden’s primary set-piece specialists. He has been with Leipzig since 2015, a key part of the team’s journey from the German second tier to last season’s UEFA Champions League final four.

Memorable EURO goals

• Henrik Larsson had retired from international football but was persuaded to return for UEFA EURO 2004 and in the opener against Bulgaria scored a stunning header which involved him taking flight in extraordinary fashion.

• Again in 2004, then up-and-coming forward Zlatan Ibrahimović grabbed the headlines when he acrobatically back-heeled a goal from shoulder height to earn a 1-1 draw with Italy.

Watch Tomas Brolin's winner for Sweden against England in 1992
Watch Tomas Brolin's winner for Sweden against England in 1992

• Tomas Brolin’s finish into the top corner of the England goal at EURO ‘92, after combining with Klas Ingesson and Martin Dahlin, prompted a 2-1 win for the home side and eruptions of joy at Råsunda.

Memorable moments

• Sweden left Portugal in 2004 feeling they might have achieved more. After 90 goalless quarter-final minutes against the Netherlands, Freddie Ljungberg and Larsson both hit the woodwork in extra time. Penalties ensued. With the teams locked at 4-4, Olof Mellberg's effort was saved and Arjen Robben knocked the Swedes out.

• After losing to hosts Ukraine in their UEFA EURO 2012 opener, Sweden were boosted by the attendance of thousands of their fans at an open training session in Kyiv. It was a particularly bright moment in an otherwise underwhelming tournament for the Swedes.

Stats

Most final tournament appearances
13: Zlatan Ibrahimović, Andreas Isaksson, Olof Mellberg
12: Kim Källström
10: Henrik Larsson, Freddie Ljungberg

Watch all of Zlatan Ibrahimović's EURO goals
Watch all of Zlatan Ibrahimović's EURO goals

Most final tournament goals
6: Zlatan Ibrahimović
4: Henrik Larsson
3: Tomas Brolin

Killer stat: Sweden’s only goal of UEFA EURO 2016 was an own goal scored by the Republic of Ireland's Ciaran Clark.

Did you know?

• Sweden had never qualified for a EURO final tournament prior to hosting in 1992. They have only missed out once since, in 1996.

• Sweden’s first four goals at EURO final tournaments were scored in the same net – at the southern end of Råsunda in their 1992 group stage fixtures against France, Denmark and England.

• In 20 matches at EURO finals, Sweden have not scored once from a direct free-kick.

• Of Sweden’s 25 goals at EURO finals, only one has been scored with a player's left foot.

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