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Tommy Soderberg




True to the honest, unfussy way in which Sweden qualified for the Euro 2000 finals for only the second time the country's history, Tommy Soderberg's grounding as coach has been to serve a complete apprenticeship at all levels of the game.

In addition to guiding AIK Solna to the Swedish title in 1992, he complemented stints at IF Brommapojkarana and Djungardens IF by serving his time with the clubs' youth teams (although, in the latter case, after he had coached the senior team).

In 1994 he started a three-year spell with the Sweden Under-21 team before replacing Tommy Svensson in his current post.

Soderberg's attention to detail and ability to get the most out of his players was nowhere more evident than in the qualifiers where Sweden's defensive record was second to none. They conceded just one goal in eight games.

So expertly did they exploit England's inconsistencies and top their group that it was hard to recall that only once before have they appeared in the finals - when they were hosts, in 1992, and were not required to qualify.

For that Soderberg should take immense credit.

What the critics say after the finals depends, to a large extent, on whether the 51-year-old's famed drills are as successful for his goalscorers as they were for his defenders and goalkeeper during the qualifiers.

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