Posted on: 05 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Sweden know there way around major competitions but gold still eludes them.

Football Profile

Coach: Lars Lagerback (59) Criticised for his lack of flair and courage, Lagerback, who has been in charge for over eight years, has just signed a new deal to continue coaching.

Away From The Game

Capital: Stockholm

Population: 9.1m

Currency: Swedish Krona

Language(s): Swedish

Famous Export: Abba, Bjorn Borg, nannies, Absolut vodka

National Food: Favourite fish dishes are pickled herring with onions, and marinated salmon. Other traditional Swedish recipes are for fruit soup, potato pancakes and Swedish meatballs.

National Drink: Coffee, Absolut Vodka.

National Animal: Lion

Star: Zlatan Ibrahimovich (26), Inter Milan (Ita) uncompromising and supremely skilful striker. Born to Bosnian/ Croatian parents, Ibrahimovic carries controversy and arrogance with outstanding football technique.

Hidden Gem: Kim Kallstrom (25), Olympique Lyon (Fra) midfield playmaker who has yet to prove himself at the highest level. Kallstrom has been a centrepiece in the Lyon midfield and needs to start turning promise into performance.

How They Qualified: Group F runners-up behind Spain and ahead of Northern Ireland, Denmark, Latvia, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Previous Best: Semi-finals 1992.

FIFA Ranking: 23

Key Fact: Sweden’s qualifying match with old foes Denmark was abandoned after a Danish fan ran onto the pitch and attempted to assault the referee – Sweden were handed a 3-0 victory by default.

Zlatan IbrahimovicOverview: Injuries have left a spanner in the Swedish works but they’re renowned for their steely commitment and ability to grind out results. A quarter-finals place is not out of the question but anything further would be a remarkable achievement.

Odds: 33/1

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