This is a major come back for Sweden after missing two consecutive World Cup tournaments in 2010 and 2014. Seemingly, retiring of the inimitable Zlatan Ibrahimovic from international football did not affect the qualification of the team for Russia.
Sweden’s world cup 2018 qualifying matches were the best showcase of the talent in the team. The memory of how impressive the team was in this campaign would perhaps last forever in the minds of the Italians! Having the 2006 world cup winners edged out of the 2018 edition by Sweden was a major fascinating stun for the fans around the globe. Moreover, Sweden went ahead to beat France in Solna and remained undefeated in the return match at home.
In the recent past, it is evident that Coach Janne Andersson has been focused on getting a highly effective defensive unit. The proof can be drawn from their seven clean sheets in the qualifying campaign.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that Sweden has beaten in their last two international friendly matches. They were thrashed by both Chile and Romania. This is worrying since Sweden should have been better than these two teams considering that they already overcome three former World Cup finalists in their bid to qualify for Russia 2018. Coach Janne has confirmed that the team will play two more matches before going to Russia- against Denmark and Peru.
The defensive line will be led by the teams’ best Andreas Granqvist. He has been national team warrior for the last decade. At the back, he will be joined by Celtic’s Mikael Lusting and Victor Lindelof of Manchester United.
Attacking midfielder Emil Forsberg is by far the team’s most creative element. He is in the squad going to Russia and will be lining up on the left side but constantly looking to cut inside.
The high flying striker Marcus Berg will be in the Sweden squad. He had a fantastic form in the just concluded season that saw his team, Al Ain top the Arabian Gulf League.
Toulouse’s forward hero Ola Toivonen will be in the team and is expected to work wonders together with striking partner Marcas Berg.
The History of Sweden at the World Cup
Sweden has made 11 appearances in the world cup. The last time that they made their furthest run was in 1994 when they finished in the third position. As earlier mentioned, they missed the last two editions of the world cup. They will be in Russia to make the moment count!
Sweden faces a team with a record eight World Cup Final appearances – Germany in their second fixture of the 2018 world cup. Perhaps, following the qualification of Germany for the round of 16, the vital matchup for Sweden will be against Mexico. This is the match that determines who will finish second in the group although the Korea Republic will also be keen to have a say in the matter.
To summarize, I believe Sweden has got what it takes to trump Mexico for second spot in Group F.