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Sweden striker Rubensson sets sights high

Having earned a fearsome reputation during qualification, Elin Rubensson has already caught the eye in Antalya after scoring the winner in Sweden's Group A opener against England.

Elin Rubensson poses after her interview with UEFA.com
Elin Rubensson poses after her interview with UEFA.com ©Sportsfile

The match winner against England, Elin Rubensson's goalscoring exploits are earning her a glowing reputation as one of the hottest prospects in Swedish women's football. A down to earth character, the 19-year-old is grounded in humility and far from hogging the limelight; the fortunes of the team are her ultimate concern.

"It was a good game and the most important thing was that we won," Rubensson told UEFA.com. "Of course it is always great fun to score especially in the first game of the tournament, which is always very important. But the team comes first and we have a really good chance to qualify for the next round now. I take each game as it comes. This is the most important element."

Sweden assumed second position in UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship Group B after Rubensson's coolly-dispatched penalty secured three precious points. It was the Malmö FF forward's ninth goal in her last seven games, following an eight-goal haul in a peerless qualification campaign.

"We were extremely happy with the performance. We are always happy when we win," said Rubensson. "England were difficult opponents. They played the English way; they were tough and had many chances but the most important thing was that we took ours."

The Scandinavians will be looking to make amends having failed at the final hurdle the last time they featured in this competition, back in 2009. Next up is Serbia, an opponent Rubensson is all too familiar with. "We have met Serbia before and we know how they play. We know their strengths and we know their weaknesses. They have improved since we last met but I think we are better. We can win."

There is unbridled unity and togetherness in the Sweden camp. Her mentor and coach Calle Barrling has often emphasised the 'Swedish way'; unmistakable values that instil hunger and pride when pulling on the national jersey. "After the [England] game he was proud of us. He was proud of the fact we worked together as a team," said Rubensson.

For all her modesty, the teenager evidently oozes the thrill of performance and is infectiously ambitious, and fiercely competitive. "I want to play for the A team in a big competition. Maybe the European Championships next year. I am an ambitious person and want to make it to the top," she said. And like every aspiring footballer, Rubensson has a role model – though hers is closer to home than most. "My boyfriend is really good at football. We have a lot of competition and I hate to lose."