SwedenPosted on: 05 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Sweden know there way around major competitions but gold still eludes them.
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
Currency: Swedish Krona
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.
Overview: 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.
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