EURO 2020 inside track: Sweden
Tuesday, 8 June 2021
UEFA.com's Sweden reporter Sujay Dutt gives his line on a hard-grafting side with a fair amount of style.
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Group E fixtures
14/06: Spain vs Sweden (Seville)
18/06: Sweden vs Slovakia (Saint Petersburg)
23/06: Sweden vs Poland (Saint Petersburg)
Coach: Janne Andersson
Captain: Andreas Granqvist
Nickname: Blågult (Blue-Yellow)
How they qualified: Group F runners-up (W6 D3 L1 F23 A9)
EURO best: semi-finalists (1992)
Where they could play their knockout games
Round of 16: Budapest, Seville, Copenhagen or Glasgow
Quarter-final: Saint Petersburg, Munich, Rome or Baku
Final 26-man squad
Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson (København), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Gençlerbirliği), Robin Olsen (Everton)
Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Pierre Bengtsson (Vejle), Marcus Danielson (Dalian Yifang), Andreas Granqvist (Helsingborg), Filip Helander (Rangers), Pontus Jansson (Brentford), Emil Krafth (Newcastle United), Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (AIK)
Midfielders: Jens-Lys Cajuste (Midtjylland), Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar), Albin Ekdal (Sampdoria), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus), Sebastian Larsson (AIK), Kristoffer Olsson (Krasnodar), Robin Quaison (Mainz), Ken Sema (Watford), Mattias Svanberg (Bologna), Gustav Svensson (Guangzhou)
Forwards: Marcus Berg (Krasnodar), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), Jordan Larsson (Spartak Moskva)
UEFA.com Sweden team reporter: Sujay Dutt
This is my fourth EURO, following my debut in 2008. That tournament started with a bang, as Zlatan Ibrahimović set Sweden on course for a win against Greece, but two subsequent defeats sent the Blågult home early. My best EURO moment came in 1992 on home turf when, as a volunteer, I witnessed Tomas Brolin score Sweden's winner in a 2-1 triumph over England: a goal for the ages and a victory that took Sweden to the semis as Group 1 winners.
How they play
As usual, it’s 4-4-2 for Sweden. In attack, the shape can change, with left-sided midfielder Emil Forsberg as likely to appear in a central, playmaking role. Regardless of how he sets up his players, Janne Andersson will demand tireless running.
Key player: Emil Forsberg
The Leipzig midfielder will shoulder much of the responsibility for Sweden’s attack. He is pacy, creative and has the kind of physique that means he is not easily pushed around. He also has a fine shot and is one of the team's best free-kick takers, along with Sebastian Larsson.
Coach: Janne Andersson
Andersson coached Norrköping to the domestic title in 2015 and has battled for fine results since taking charge of Sweden in 2016. A famous play-off win against Italy took his team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where they reached the quarter-finals. It was a success rooted in the coach's commitment to a strong work ethic.
One to watch: Kristoffer Olsson
Slight of frame, midfielder Olsson possesses a toolbox full of dribbles and smart passes that are as effective as they are easy on the eye. Brought to Arsenal at 16 by Arsène Wenger, he was 19 when he helped Sweden win the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Now 25, he is playing well at Krasnodar after a spell back in Sweden with AIK Solna.
Can they win it?
Sweden would not even rank among the top ten favourites, but this team combines traditional Swedish virtues of hard work with attacking flair, not least through a bunch of midfielders and forwards making their debuts at a major tournament. If they can get through the group stage, amazing things could happen.