His first winner of the European Championships for women looks like a lively outsider when the tournament kicks off in England this summer.
Sweden’s group stage match with the defending champions The Netherlands promises to be one of the highlights in the early rounds, but the Swedes will hope to go much further.
Here we look at their chances …
Best finish: Winner (1984)
The first European champions have, with the exception of a dominant Germany, been the continent’s most consistent side, but will desperately end their 38-year wait for a second success in major tournaments.
Since the first triumph, Sweden has reached four finals and another seven semi-finals over the World Cup and European Championships without crossing the line, and has also taken silver medalists at each of the last two Olympics.
Coach: Peter Gerhardsson
Gerhardsson spent his entire playing career in his home country and had only trained in the men’s game before taking on his current role after the European Championships 2017, after piloting the Gothenburg team BK Hacken to the Swedish Cup, the first major trophy in their history.
The 62-year-old led Sweden to a third place at the 2019 World Cup and then missed out on Olympic gold last summer after a penalty shootout loss to Canada.
Key player: Stina Blackstenius
Blackstenius, who is becoming increasingly known to English fans after her switch to the WSL with Arsenal in January, is considered one of the best strikers on the planet.
The 26-year-old has an excellent result in major tournaments and made the winner in Sweden’s sixteenth finals and quarter – final victories in the WC 2019, before he found the net five times at the Olympics in Tokyo.
Decent. Sweden has not enjoyed as many of the emphatic gains over minor opposition as some of the other leading challengers, but their only “defeat” in the last twelve months came on penalties in the Olympic final.
They got a little more kick training when they beat Italy in a penalty shootout in the final of the Algarve Cup earlier this year, although they were denied a decent test against Denmark earlier in that tournament after their Scandinavian neighbors lost due to a Covid outbreak.
Goalkeepers: Jennifer Falk (Hacken), Hedvig Lindahl (Atletico Madrid), Zecira Musovic (Chelsea).
Defender: Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea), Hanna Glas (Bayern Munich), Jonna Andersson (Hammarby), Nathalie Bjorn (Everton), Amanda Ilestedt (Paris Saint-Germain), Emma Kullberg (Brighton), Amanda Nilden (Juventus), Linda Sembrant (Juventus) )).
Midfielder: Caroline Seger (Rosengard), Filippa Angeldahl (Manchester City), Hanna Bennison (Everton), Kosovare Asllani (Real Madrid), Elin Rubensson (Hacken), Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (Hacken).
Forward: Lina Hurtig (Juventus), Fridolina Rolfo (Barcelona), Stina Blackstenius (Arsenal), Sofia Jakobsson (San Diego Wave), Rebecka Blomqvist (Wolfsburg), Olivia Schough (Rosengard).
- July 9 – The Netherlands (Bramall Lane – 8pm)
- July 13 – Switzerland (Bramall Lane – 5pm)
- July 17 – Portugal (Leigh Sports Village – 5pm)
You can follow the women’s European Championships over Standard Sport this summer!