FIFA World Cup 2018 team profile: Sweden start life after Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Sweden will return to the FIFA World Cup with great ambitions even if they are without their talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.football Updated: Jun 11, 2018 19:35 IST
Head coach: Janne Andersson
World Cup history: Qualified 11 times; best-Runners Up (1958)
Qualifying route: Finished second in Group A behind France – beat Italy 1-0 on aggregate in a two-legged playoff
Squad: Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Robin Olsen; Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson, Andreas Granqvist, Filip Helander, Pontus Jansson, Emil Krafth, Mikael Lustig, Victor, Martin Olsson; Midfielders: Viktor Claesson, Jimmy Durmaz, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Oscar Hiljemark, Sebastian Larsson, Marcus Rohden, Gustav Svensson; Forwards: Marcus Berg, John Guidetti, Isaac Kiese Thelin, Ola Toivonen.
Sweden, without their long-standing hero Zlatan Ibrahamovic, will be keen on making their presence felt in Russia after having beaten European giants Italy and Netherlands during the qualification campaign.
Finishing second after France in their qualifying group, they enabled Netherland’s ouster and went on to beat Italy -- who will miss out on the tournament for the first time since 1958 -- in the play-offs.
Sweden’s best finish came in 1958 when they hosted the tournament but went down 5-2 to a Pele-inspired Brazil in the final. Although Sweden’s backline is their strong suit, upfront, many younger players will be looking to fill the starry void left by Ibrahamovic.
But for Sweden, who have not won a fixture at an international tournament since the Euro 2012, it will be a tall ask to make it to the round of 16.
Three players to watch out for
Emil Forsberg: Forsberg will undoubtedly be Sweden’s go-to-man at the World Cup this year. The 26-year-old’s ability to create for his teammates will be pivotal to Sweden’s campaign. The RB Leipzig man will be Sweden’s finest offering.
Victor Lindelof: The out of favour Manchester United defender suffered a forgetful first season at Old Trafford having played a role in the team conceding goals early on in the season. The 23-year-old will be raring to prove himself at the international level.
Sebastian Larsson: One of the most experienced players in the team, Larsson could be key to Sweden’s goal scoring at the World Cup. The 33-year-old free kicks and deliveries from corners could help Sweden unlock opposing defences.
First Published: Jun 11, 2018 19:34 IST