Women's EURO team guide: Sweden
Monday, February 7, 2022
The surprise Olympic silver medallists are now aiming to end their 38-year wait for a second European title.
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Group C fixtures
Saturday 9 July
Netherlands vs Sweden (21:00, Sheffield)
Wednesday 13 July
Sweden vs Switzerland (18:00, Sheffield)
Sunday 17 July
Sweden vs Portugal (18:00, Wigan & Leigh)*
How they qualified: Group F winners (P8 W7 D1 L0 F40 A2)
Women's EURO best: Winners (1984)
Women's EURO 2017: Quarter-finals
Key player: Stina Blackstenius
In the last few years Sweden's reputation has gone from being a team hard to beat to a side that soared through the Olympics playing swashbuckling football. As key to anyone in that is Blackstenius, who announced her talent at youth level for Sweden with 50 goals in 49 appearances, starring in their 2015 UEFA Women's U19 EURO victory. The following year she scored in the Olympic final as Sweden lost to Germany, and got some big goals on the way to 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup bronze. Hit five in earning another Olympic silver last year, underlining her knack for peaking on the biggest stage.
One to watch: Hanna Bennison
According to FIFA's Global Transfer Report for 2021, the biggest fee for any female player last year was that received in August by Rosengård from Everton for midfielder Bennison, then just 18. She had been part of Sweden's Olympic silver run, usually deployed from the bench, has the touch of magic that can change a game and the ambition to work hard to fulfill her talent.
Coach: Peter Gerhardsson
A former top-level player and a PE teacher, Gerhardsson's coaching background was in men's football, notably a spell in charge of Häcken from 2009 to 2016. He was then announced as the choice to take over from Pia Sundhage as Sweden women's coach following Women's EURO 2017 and is now hoping to follow 2019 World Cup bronze and 2021 Olympic silver with EURO 2022 gold.
Gerhardsson has emphasised attacking play and fast starts, and has a squad with several players able to be flexible about which roles they fill. The experienced goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl usually plays behind a four-player defence in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation while Caroline Seger, the most-capped European in history, plays a vital role in central midfield, as do Fridolina Rolfö and Sofia Jakobsson down the wings.
Winners of the very first UEFA women's tournament in 1984, Sweden have reached the final of several major competitions since but are yet to add a second title. After losing to Germany in the Women's EURO 2001 and 2003 World Cup finals on golden goals, Sweden had something of a reputation for underperforming considering the talent they had at their disposal, notably surprise losses to Norway in the EURO semis of 2005 and quarters four years later. But that just showed the high standards they were held to and in recent years they have become tournament specialists – notably their unexpected and gritty run to 2016 Olympic silver, earning 2019 World Cup bronze and then another Olympic silver in 2021, when they performed brilliantly throughout only to miss out on penalties behind Canada.