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Sunday, 5 May, 2002, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
No Swedish surprises
Everton and Sweden winger Jesper Blomqvist
Jesper Blomqvist was an unpopular omission

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Never exactly ones to relish the media spotlight, the Swedish management team nevertheless sought to bring a feeling of drama to their announcement of their World Cup squad.

Coaches Lars Lagerback and Tommy Soderberg waited an hour-and-a-half before bringing the press conference to a conclusion by revealing the names of the chosen ones.

None of the 60 journalists in attendance gasped in surprise.

Neither did the general public.

Six hours after the names were out in the open, thousands had given their opinion on the websites of the nation's two biggest tabloids.

"Are you happy with the Swedish World Cup squad?" asked Aftonbladet.

More than 50% were not.

"What do you think about Lars-Tommy's squad?" was Expressen's poser - here almost half of the people answering chose "lousy".

And the television anchors almost yawned as they read out the news: "At last the Swedish World Cup squad is ready - and there were no surprises..."

After three draws for the national team so far in 2002, something was needed to energise the Swedish football fans.

Swedish midfielder Daniel Andersson
Daniel Andersson was an unpopular choice

Something bold and surprising, like including a young talent such as Kim Kallstrom instead of Daniel Andersson in midfield.

Or maybe giving Jesper Blomqvist a final fling on the world's biggest football stage.

It didn't happen.

In fact, Expressen had another question: "Who do you miss the most in the World Cup squad?"

The clear winner was the only player to hear the negative message from the coaches on his answering machine - Everton's Blomqvist.

In contrast, Svenska Dagbladet asked readers to let them know who Lars-Tommy should not have picked.

Daniel Andersson was the most (or least) popular choice.

The storm of football enthusiasm in Sweden, supposed to peak in Japan in June, is at most a light breeze now.

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GROUP F
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ARGENTINA 3 0 4
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