Will Zlatan and his blond team-mates have more fun at the Euros?
SWEDEN (Group D)
Group mates Greece (10 June, Salzburg), Spain (14 June, Innsbruck), Russia (18 June, Innsbruck)
Three most valuable players 1) Zlatan Ibrahimovic Hugely talented, but mentally fragile – you never know if you’re going to see Amazing Zlatan or Amazingly Crap Zlatan. Sweden desperately need the former to show up in Austria. 2) Kim Kallstrom Possessed of a foot like a traction engine, Kongo Kim is a key figure in the Swedish midfield. 3) Olof Mellberg The reliable ex-Villa centre-back is Sweden’s most important defender.
Hard fact In reaching the Euro 2008 finals, Sweden qualified for their fifth successive major international tournament.
What the media say “All in all the Swedes look good for another unspectacular progression out of the group stages, after which they will be hoping to surprise a few people. On the other hand, they’ll probably get France in the last eight. So quarter-finals and no further it probably is.” [Guardian Unlimited]
What the bookies say They don’t have much faith in the Swedes, who are available at a best-priced 50/1.
Pies predicts If Zlatan hits top form, anything is possible. But the chances of him doing that consistently are slim indeed. Sweden’s squad is largely uninspiring, and although they rarely underperform, I can’t see them making the last eight. Third in group
Shit Lookalikes Freddie Ljungberg & David Beckham
Random YouTube find Swedish TV presenter loses lunch live on air:
Goalkeepers Andreas Isaksson, Rami Shaaban, Johan Wiland
Defenders Olof Mellberg, Petter Hansson, Fredrik Stoor, Daniel Majstorovic, Andreas Granqvist, Mikael Dorsin
Midfielders Mikael Nilsson, Tobias Linderoth, Niclas Alexandersson, Anders Svensson, Fredrik Ljungberg, Kim Kallstrom, Sebastian Larsson, Daniel Andersson, Christian Wilhelmsson
Forwards Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Johan Elmander, Henrik Larsson, Marcus Allback, Markus Rosenberg
Coach Lars Lagerback