Ladies’ EC 2022 team guide no. 11: Sweden | Sweden’s women’s football team

This article is part of the Guardian’s Women’s Euro 2022 Experts’ Network, a collaboration between some of the top media organizations from the 16 countries that have qualified. theguardian.com runs previews from two countries every day ahead of the tournament which starts on July 6th.

Overview

– It has never been this tough, said Sweden’s coach Peter Gerhardsson before announcing his squad. “Then me and Magnus [Wikman, the assistant coach] took over in 2017, the competition for places has not been at this level. And I’m not just talking about the starting eleven – this is for the whole team. It will be tough for some of the girls who will not make it. ”

The strength in depth is one of the reasons why Sweden enters the tournament with high hopes. Qualifying for the European Championships was never a problem. After finishing in Group F with Iceland, Slovakia, Hungary and Latvia, they got some big wins along the way – even though they lost two points against Iceland, after a 1-1 draw in Reykjavik. “You never know until the end of the qualifier how important a point will be,” Gerhardsson said afterwards. “Maybe this one will be the deciding one.”

As it was, Sweden won the home match against Iceland with 2-0 to book their place and the group opponents the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland must be aware of the team’s strength on fixed balls. Five defenders contributed with 10 of Sweden’s 40 goals in the qualifiers, many of them came from dead ball situations. By comparison, the Swedes’ best goal scorer was forward Anna Anvegård, who got five, and did not join the squad.

Gerhardsson is not afraid to change his formation but it is likely that it will be either 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 – even if he went for 5-3-2 in a recent World Cup qualifier against Ireland. The backbone of the squad has held together for a long time now – players like Hedvig Lindahl, Magdalena Eriksson, Caroline Seger and Kosovar Asllani – and after the heartache in the Olympic final last year, when they lost on penalties against Canada, they will want to go all the way here time.