Sweden are as almost always qualified for a new big tournament in football. A grand football nation with special traditions and some astonishing results in the early years of the game. Olympic gold medalist back in 1948 and 10 years later at home playing in the World Cup final v. Brazil.Embed from Getty Images
As we are entering the Euro’s, Zlatan’s return backfired a bit with him getting injured and most certainly will he miss the tournament, but Sweden is not just Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 39 year old forward currently with AC Milan is ruled out with a knee injury.
A great tradition of bring forward great talent with Kalle Svensson (73 caps) from the legendary 1958 World Cup team. Ronnie Hellstrom (77 caps) playing in three World Cup’s during the 70’s and of course not to forget Thomas Ravelli (143 caps) from the 80’s and 90’s and of course Andreas Isaksson (133 caps) in the years from the start of this century and on to 2018.
Today they don’t have the same experience among their goalkeepers, but do still have loads of quality in that area with “Skip” Janne Andersson able to make his selection among a number of players. Robin Olsen being the candidate for the job in the Euro’s. Olsen is not first choice at Everton but his experience might see him as the best qualified. Other options are Karl Johan Johnsson, Kristoffer Nordfelt, Jakob Rinne and Isak Pettersson.Embed from Getty Images
To see Sweden in anything else than a settled back four would surprise everyone, and they trust their system, so we believe they will just continue playing in that term, despite many nations now doing a switch to three in the defense line. From the old days you have a number of great defenders from Sweden, Bjørn Nordqvist (115 caps) is one to mention, played for IFK Norrkoping, Minnesota Kicks, PSV Eindhoven and IFK Gøteborg among his teams being the captain for several seasons and playing in three World Cup’s, 1970, 1974 and 1978.
In the backline today you will find Mikael Lustig (89 caps), currently with AIK in Sweden, but previously a long career with Celtic and Norwegian Rosenborg. Victor Lindelof (40 caps) is of course a certainty in the back line representing Manchester United. Martin Olsson (51 caps) has passed 33 years of age, and at the moment playing for BK Hacken in the Swedish league, but still a player that can be trusted on the left. Ludvik Augustinsson and Emil Kraft are the players who can win places in the starting line-up but still not certainties despite being with clubs such as Werder Bremen and Newcastle United. Still part of the squad is Andreas Grankvist, but doubts his presence in games, and would rather see Rangers defender Filip Helander in there together with Lindelof.Embed from Getty Images
In midfield you have a number of great legends from the past, with a certain Uwe Grahn to get the notice, Gunner Gren and Nils Liedholm are other legends of great midfielders in the Sweden team over time. Bosse Larsson of course not be forget, and in later years you had Freddie Ljungberg and Anders Limpar who both played for Arsenal, Kim Kallstrom was also at Arsenal on a loan and easily forgetting his Gunners days. Today you have Albin Ekdal (56 caps) in Serie A with Sampdoria. Seb Larsson (127 caps) is still going strong at the age of 35 and the former Arsenal, Birmingham and Sunderland winger is now with Swedish club AIK. Emil Forsberg (56 caps) is given in the line-up, representing RB Leipzig. Ken Sema (10 caps) could be the fourth player in the line up, currently with Watford who will be in the top flight next season.Embed from Getty Images
Up front you have long traditions in Sweden, with the Gunnar Nordahl as the main icon from his days in Italy playing for AC Milan and hitting goals like a habit, scoring 210 goals in 257 league games, in the national team he hit 43 in 33 games. Zlatan will not be part of the squad, but his presence in so many years made him a seldom icon as well, playing 116 times for Sweden so far and his total of goals is 62 to date. In his absence Marcus Berg will be ever so important, but he needs to shoot up his tally of goals as he stands on 23 from 84 games. Berg is currently playing in Russia with Krasnodar. The wonderkid Alexander Isak is the preferred player alongside Berg, but the Real Sociedad forward struggles a bit with just 6 goals from 20 games.
We then get the following team, GK, Olsen, D, Lustig, Lindelov, Helander, Olsson, M, Ekdal, Larsson, Forsberg, Sema, F, Berg, Isak