It is 63 years since Sweden last reached the final of a major tournament and while the Swedes always bring colour to the Euros or World Cup, they’re unlikely to be rocking up for the final at Wembley on 11 July. Sweden have the unenviable challenge of getting through a group involving Spain, Poland and Slovakia only for the likely prize to be a last-16 clash with Croatia.
Yet while few Euros betting fans are tipping them for much success, Sweden should be an entertaining watch this summer. Their veteran striker – we all know who he is! – will no doubt produce the theatrics we have all come to love, while this Sweden side is stacked with other top talent. The majority of their players compete in the biggest leagues across Europe – and it is that wealth of experience that could well aid the team in the group stage.
Sweden reached the Euros after qualifying second in Group F behind Spain. They were four points ahead of neighbours Norway and lost just once over the entire campaign. The head coach will hope to get close to that average of 2.3 goals per game recorded during their qualifiers – and recent performances have raised hopes that they can at least reach the knockout stage this summer.
Sweden play a resolute 4-4-2 system that puts the emphasis on team attacking and team defending. A compact midfield is instructed to keep things tight when not in possession, and steadily build progress when they reclaim the ball. Sweden aren’t a smash-and-grab team and tend to focus on the overlap down the wings before pinging balls into the box. Their full-backs will likely run further than any other player in the team.
Where Sweden will likely fall at these Euros is in their squad depth. Beneath a few elite stars there are young players competing in the smaller leagues in Europe, who have less international football experience. Fatigue and injuries could cost them dearly, but that won’t stop supporters trying to buy Sweden Euro tickets and getting to their games this summer.
The first Sweden Euro group game is scheduled for 14 June against Spain in Seville. Sweden will play their other two group games, against Poland and Slovakia, in St Petersburg. Finishing second in their group, which is expected, would likely see Sweden come up against Croatia in the last-16 in Copenhagen. That encounter against the World Cup finalists three years ago could be spectacular after the two sides clashed in the Nations League only last autumn.
Whether the Swedes can advance any further than that, however, is anyone’s guess.