Euro 2020: Sweden look like a well-oiled machine, ready to go a long way

Jane Andersson, who took charge of Sweden in 2016, has successfully instilled unity, work ethic, and discipline in the team.

Sweden football team; Credit: Twitter/@eforsberg10

Since the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Euro 2016, Sweden have transformed from a mediocre European team to a hard-to-beat competitor at the highest level of world football. Jane Andersson’s side reached the quarter-finals of FIFA World Cup 2018 and finished behind only Spain in the Euro 2020 qualifying group. Although Ibrahimovic announced his return from retirement for the Euro’s, later a knee injury had ruled him out. Sweden aren’t a one-man team anymore, therefore Zlatan’s absence won’t really be a big issue for them. They have players who can step up and deliver at the big stage as they have shown in the World Cup.

Andersson, who took charge of Sweden in 2016 has successfully instilled unity, work ethic and discipline in the team. Meanwhile, everyone is just a part of the team and they work for each other, that’s their mantra for success. Sweden haven’t lost a game since their 4-2 defeat to France last November. They have won all their three International friendlies ahead of the rescheduled European Championship.

Key players

RB Leipzig midfielder Emil Forsberg is going to be their key man heading into the Euros. He is likely to occupy the left side of midfield and will have the task of creating goal-scoring opportunities for the strikers. FC Krasnodar’s Marcus Berg, isn’t the most prolific striker in the world, but the 34-year-old is a pivotal part of the Swedish team. His relentless running and closing down of the opposition defenders are perfectly suited for the Swedish team’s motto of working hard together and are often highly praised by the coach.

Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, who is compared with Zlatan, might partner Berg up front. The 21-year old had a very good La Liga season, scoring 17 goals. Another 21-year-old Dejan Kulusevski is likely to occupy the right-wing, if he is fit to play. According to reports coming in, he has been tested positive for COVID-19.

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof will be the leader of the defence in the absence of Andreas Gransquit, who is in the squad but is unlikely to play. Gransquit hasn’t played too much football in the last 18 months and the 36-year-old’s selection was a bit controversial. It seems Andersson has selected the veteran for his leadership skills on and off the field. Therefore either Filip Helander or Pontus Jansson will be the other central defender.

Sweden’s strategy has been to be very disciplined and rigid while defending and hit the opposition on the counter. That has worked for them so far, especially against bigger teams. Meanwhile having so many tall players makes them a serious threat from set piece situations.

Sweden has a very good chance of making it through to the knockout stages and if they could repeat their World Cup heroics they can go a long way. They will open their campaign against  Spain in their Group E fixture on June 14 before taking on Slovakia and Poland on June 18 and 23 respectively.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Robin Olsen (Everton/ENG), Karl-Johan Johnsson (FC Copenhagen/DEN), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Genclerbirligi/TUR)

Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen/GER), Andreas Granqvist (Helsingborgs), Victor Lindelof (Manchester United/ENG), Filip Helander (Rangers/SCO), Emil Krafth (Newcastle/ENG), Mikael Lustig (AIK), Pontus Jansson (Brentford/ENG), Marcus Danielson (Dalian Pro/CHN), Pierre Bengtsson (Vejle)

Midfielders: Jens Cajuste (FC Midtjylland/DEN), Gustav Svensson (Guangzhou/CHN), Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar/RUS), Albin Ekdal (Sampdoria/ITA), Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig/GER), Sebastian Larsson (AIK), Kristoffer Olsson (Krasnodar/RUS), Ken Sema (Watford/ENG), Mattias Svanberg (Bologna/ITA)

Forwards: Marcus Berg (IFK Goteborg), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus/ITA), Robin Quaison (Mainz/GER), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad/ESP), Jordan Larsson (Spartak Moscow/RUS)




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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