Inside Track: Sweden
Friday, 15 June, 2012
The Swedes will be looking to avenge November's defeat to England at Wembley.
How they got there
Second place in Group E was secured by 6-0 and 5-0 wins against San Marino and another 5-0 inflicted upon Finland. The highlight was a 3-2 win over group winners Holland on the last day.
It’s been a mixed bag since the Swedes bought their plane tickets to the Ukraine and Poland. Friendly losses to neighbours Denmark and England were rectified with a routine 2-0 win over Bahrain and an impressive, cavalier 3-1 defeat of fellow Euro 2012 hopefuls Croatia.
In the dugout
Coach Erik Hamren replaced Lars Lagerback when Sweden failed to qualify for World Cup 2010. Hamren led Danes Aalborg to the league in 2008 and won consecutive championships with Norwegians Rosenborg in 2009 and 2010. The former midfielder is from Ljusdal in the north of the country and displays the calm temperament typical of the region. Despite this measured style he is strong enough to keep control. Although Hamren favours attacking football he also possess an admirable pragmatic streak. Tactically the Scandinavians deploy 4-2-3-1. Pace on the flanks, technically accomplished strongmen in central midfield and skipper Zlatan Ibrahimovic as trequartista behind striker Johan Elmander. Ibra can also assume the centre-forward role with PSV Eindhoven captain Ola Toivonen at his rear.
The main man will always be the impossible-to-ignore Ibra. The lanky, acrobatic AC Milan forward has the wonderful combination of magic dust in his feet and fire in his belly. Former Bolton striker Elmander brings a deft touch and fluidity. In central midfield Kim Kallstrom provides sturdy cover for his defence and clever passes to the attackers. The Lyon-based star can also chip in with goals, having scored 16 for his country coming into the Finals.
Overall played 22, won 7 drawn 9 lost 6. Two draws at World Cups (Saitama 2002, Cologne 2006) and one meeting at European Championship, a 2-1 win for Sweden in 1992. England’s 1-0 win at Wembley in a November 2011 friendly ended the Three Lions’ 43-year run without a win against the Swedes.
“We needed a fresh approach after missing the 2010 World Cup. Hamren has given the team a new beginning. After recent performances we are very excited about our chances,” said Zlatan Ibrahimovic
“The quarter-finals are possible. In Sweden we also take faith from what Greece and Denmark have achieved at previous tournaments,” says Per Zander, TV and Fotbollskanalen.se
Any other business
Tomas Brolin, hero of Sweden’s Euro 92 campaign (when they reached the semi-final), has been busy since retiring aged 29 in 1998. He has appeared in rap videos, opened restaurants, started a trainers company and competed at the 2011 Barcelona Poker Open.
1 Andreas Isaksson, 12 Johan Wiland, 23 Pär Hansson
2 Mikael Lustig, 3 Olof Mellberg, 4 Andreas Granqvist, 5 Martin Olsson, 13 Jonas Olsson, 15 Mikael Antonsson, 17 Behrang Safari
6 Rasmus Elm, 7 Sebastian Larsson, 8 Anders Svensson, 9 Kim Källström, 16 Pontus Wernbloom, 18 Samuel Holmén, 19 Emir Bajrami, 21 Christian Wilhelmsson
10 Zlatan Ibrahimović, 11 Johan Elmander, 14 Tobias Hysén, 20 Ola Toivonen, 22 Markus Rosenberg