At first, the announcement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return from retirement in March 2021 after five years away lifted the nation of Sweden with the excitement of seeing one of, if not the greatest player to have worn the traditional yellow shirt in one more European Championship campaign. Sadly for Sweden, elation turned to disappointment as Ibrahimovic was ruled out with an injury sustained in his Serie A campaign with AC Milan.
Sweden open their campaign against the side they finished second to in qualifying, Spain. It is a daunting task for the Scandinavian side against one of the favourites for the competition. Spain were victors 3-0 in the first group match but Sweden almost got revenge in the reverse fixture. Marcus Berg gave the Swedes the lead after 50 minutes and Spain had to rely on a 92nd minute equaliser from Rodrigo to rescue a point.
Sweden reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup with their organised and disciplined defensive structure, mixed with some interesting attacking talent. Janne Anderson is an experienced manager and will continue with their disciplined and direct style of play, knowing that his side reached the tournament without Ibrahimovic for the majority of qualifying.
Sweden Squad For Euro 2020
Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson (København), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Gençlerbirliği), Robin Olsen (Everton).
Defenders: Mikael Lustig(AIK), Pontus Janssson(Brentford), Ludwig Augustinsson(Werder Bremen), Andreas Granqvist(Helsingborgs IF), Victor Lindelof(Manchester United), Marcus Danielson(Dalian Yifang), Martin Olsson(Häcken), Emil Krafth(Newcastle United), Filip Helander(The Rangers).
Midfielders: Sebastian Larson(AIK), Emil Forsberg(RB Leipzig), Viktor Claeson(Krasnodar), Ken Sema(Watford), Dejan Kulusevki(Juventus), Albin Ekdal(Sampdoria), Gustav Svensson(Guangzhou), Jens Cajuste(Midtjylland), Kristoffer Olson(Krasnodar), Mattias Svanberg(Bologna).
Forwards: Marcus Berg(Krasnodar), Alexsander Isak(Real Sociedad), Robin Quaison(Mainz), Jordan Larsson(Spartak Moscow)
How Will They Play?
They will likely play a 4-4-2 formation and look to create a low block and transition quickly when in possession. Forward players Marcus Berg and Mainz forward Robin Quaison have been preferred in attack. The experienced Berg will work hard for his side though every moment of every match. The 34-year-old, currently playing at Krasnodar in Russia, has 84 caps for his national side and managed 23 goals. A strong and athletic player, he will cause defences problems with his direct style of play, able to break into the box for crosses or to run at defenders on counter attacks.
Victor Lindelof is a key figure in a team built around defensive stability. Lindelof has shown he is a solid passer of the ball, and a tough defender in a side that has a lot of physical strength in the defensive area. With a lack of creativity on the centre of midfield, Lindelof is required to bring the ball out where possible and look to create counter attacks with his long range passing ability. He has had a difficult time in ingratiating himself with the Manchester United faithful who remain uncertain if he is of the level required to hold down a regular place alongside Harry Maguire, but has the faith of Janne Anderson and his Swedish teammates who see him as a key part of their potential successes.
One To Watch and Prediction
A future prospect who may get the chance to fight for his place in the starting 11 is Alexander Isak, the 21-year-old forward who currently plays for Real Sociedad. The 6’4’’ striker scored 17 times in La Liga this year and seems very settled after a more to Borussia Dortmund failed to bring the best out of the striker. He already has 21 caps to his name, and Isak has had his most successful season to date which would have given his manager some difficult decisions to make in this area going into the competition.
Sweden will feel confident about getting out of the group stage and will have their sights set on at least the quarter-final stage. Goals can often be hard to come by for Anderson’s side against stronger teams, their 23 goals in qualifying looked impressive on paper, before noting they had Malta and the Faroe Islands in Group F.
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