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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Sweden team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Sweden ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group B):

  • v Trinidad & Tobago - 10 June, 1700 BST, Dortmund
  • v Paraguay - 15 June, 2000 BST, Berlin
  • v England - 20 June, 2000 BST, Cologne

    How did they get to Germany: Avoided a play-off - but only just. Sweden lost twice to Croatia but finished level on points to qualify as one of the two best placed runners-up.

    Qualifying star: Goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson was extremely impressive. The Rennes stopper made just one mistake - against Iceland in a game the Swedes comfortably won to seal their spot.

    Manager: For four years Lars Lagerback was part of an unusual managerial combo with Tommy Soderberg. Lagerback took sole control after Euro 2004 and it is so far so good for the 62-year-old.

    Sweden skipper Olof Mellberg
    Captain: Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg is feeling the years in his legs and is perhaps guilty of picking up too many bookings, but he remains a natural leader.

    World Cup pedigree: Pretty impressive. Hosted the tournament in 1958, reaching the final, and have made the semi-finals in 1950 and 1994. Sweden will be competing in their 11th World Cup finals.

    World Cup high: Sweden scored after four minutes of the 1958 final and had the Jules Rimet trophy in their grasp - but only briefly. A 17-year-old by the name of Pele soon found his form and Brazil ran out 5-2 winners.

    World Cup low: The Swedes did not exactly cover themselves in glory at the 1990 tournament in Italy - losing to Brazil, Scotland and Costa Rica.

    World Cup legend: Kurt Hamrin is a major contender. The winger, who starred in Italy for Juventus, Padova and Fiorentina, only played in the 1958 tournament but scored the goals that propelled Sweden to the final.

    Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic
    Present star man: Juventus striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is powerful yet skilful. He also possesses a combustible temper. Ibrahimovic scored a 91st-minute goal in Sweden's crunch qualifying win over Hungary in Budapest.

    Strengths: Sweden have plenty going forward. In addition to Ibrahimovic they have Barcelona's Helsingborg-bound striker Henrik Larsson and Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg, who is never short of goals from midfield.

    Weaknesses: They might have only conceded four goals in qualifying but the right-back position remains up for grabs, while the central partnership of Mellberg and Teddy Lucic is not of the vintage of Joachim Bjorkland and Patrik Anderson.

    Did you know? After three consecutive 1-2 defeats at the 1990 World Cup a popular joke in Sweden was that the team had prepared for the tournament by learning how to march.

    World ranking: 16

    Odds: 33/1

    Local view: "There is a lot of optimism in Sweden because we have a young team growing better all the time." Lasse Sandlin, sports writer for Aftonbladet newspaper.

    Our verdict: Could cause a surprise.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.


    Pick your Sweden XI
    31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Sweden
    04 Sep 05 |  Country profiles


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