Sweden beat Italy 1-0 on aggregate in the playoffs to secure their spot in the 2018 World Cup
Sweden World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide
Amid all the euphoria of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup due to their remarkable play-off victory over Italy, it should not be forgotten how impressive Sweden were in the group phase, pipping Holland to the runners-up spot, beating France in Solna and being undefeated at home. Under coach Janne Andersson, they are first and foremost a highly effective defensive unit. The proof? Their seven clean sheets.
Related: World Cup TV Schedule
Key Moments in Qualifying
The inimitable Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires from international football. After years of everything revolving around their talismanic superstar, coach Andersson has no other option but to cultivate a greater team ethic.
Sweden’s solidity and flair for a counter-attack is there for all to see in a 1-1 draw at home to Holland in the opening qualifier. The Dutch enjoyed the bulk of possession, completed twice as many passes and had far more shots on goal, yet still they could not force the win.
Fighting back from a goal down, they come of age in beating France 2-1. The injury-time winner is scored by striker Ola Toivonen, who plays in France for Toulouse.
Deploying the sort of catenaccio tactics that Italian sides used to be famous for, Sweden overcome the Azzurri in the play-offs to reach the finals for the first time since 2006.
Sweden World Cup Group
Sweden World Cup Friendlies
On the 24th of March Sweden lost to Chile, and then lost to Romania a few days later. A Scandinavian battle with Christian Eriksen and Denmark is on the 2nd of June, and then Peru a week later on the 9th.
Related: World Cup Friendlies
Sweden World Cup Fixtures
Related: World Cup Fixtures
Janne Andersson, age 55 (20.09.62)
Appointed in June 2016 on a three-year contract, he was brought in to replace Eric Hamren at the end of Sweden’s Euro 2016 campaign. He began his coaching career at fourth-tier Alets IK, then took charge at Laholms FK, Halmstads, Orgryte and Norrkoping, leading the latter to the 2015 Swedish title.
Attacking midfielder Emil Forsberg is by far the team’s most imaginative element, nominally lining up on the left side but constantly looking to cut inside.
Back-four organiser and skipper Andreas Granqvist has been a national-team warrior for a decade. Ola Toivonen’s flair can produce game-changing moments.
Scorer of the winning goal against Italy, Jakob Johansson damaged cruciate ligaments in the second leg and could be a doubt for the finals.
Defensive midfielder Alexander Fransson made his competitive bow in the 1-1 draw with Holland, while striker Samuel Armenteros was handed a short cameo in the 3-2 loss to Bulgaria.
Related: World Cup Stadiums
Sweden World Cup Squad
Preliminary World Cup Squad –
Goalkeepers – Karl-Johan Johnsson, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Jacob Rinne
Defenders –Andreas Granqvist, Filip Helander, Niklas Hult, Pontus Jansson, Johan Larsson, Victor Lindelof, Mikael Lustig, Martin Olsson
Midfielders – Viktor Claesson, Jimmy Durmaz, Emil Forsberg, Alexander Fransson, Oscar Hiljemark, Sebastian Larsson, Sam Larsson, Gustav Svensson
Sweden World Cup Injuries
We will update you with all the injuries regularly.
The Unanswered Questions
Would Janne Andersson ever be tempted with a back three?
Hell might freeze over first. A 4-4-2 system is embedded within the soul of the Swedes. It’s the system in which they feel the most comfortable and secure.
Is there a risk of first-choice striker Marcus Berg becoming rusty now that he no longer plays his club football in Europe?
Despite moving from Panathinaikos to Al Ain in the UAE in the summer he was impressive against Italy. Andersson loves the front-line blend of Berg and Toivonen, with the former as the forward threat and the latter more likely to come deeper.
Could Zlatan Ibrahimovic make a World Cup comeback ?
Most improbable. Sweden and Andersson have moved on. They have a new style of play and completely different ethic in the camp.
Which players could make a late charge for the squad?
Promising centre-forward Kerim Mrabti has a number of backers, while midfielder Kristoffer Olsson is pushing hard, as is winger Sam Larsson.
If Emil Forsberg was injured, could Sweden cope?
No one else is available with his speed and eye for a killer through ball. The only alternative would be Sam Larsson.
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