Tuesday 16 January 2018

Euro 2016 team-by-team guide: Everything you need to know Sweden

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden (L) celebrates scoring his first goal with Oscar Lewicki, Andreas Granqvist, Kim Kallstrom, Sebastian Larsson of Sweden
Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden (L) celebrates scoring his first goal with Oscar Lewicki, Andreas Granqvist, Kim Kallstrom, Sebastian Larsson of Sweden

Kevin Palmer gives us the lowdown on the Sweden


Odds: 100/1

Group E fixtures

  • June 13th: Republic of Ireland in Saint-Denis
  • June 17th: Italy in Toulouse
  • June 22nd: Belgium in Nice

COACH: Erik Hamren

One of the longest serving international managers, Hamren has been in charge of Sweden since 2009 and his experience in the role should stand him in good stead heading into Euro 2016.

Having won domestic titles in Denmark with Aalborg and in Norway with Rosenborg, Hamren is expected to deploy a 4-4-2 formation that is designed to get the best out of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It is a relatively simple game plan for a coach who will step down from his role when this summer’s tournament comes to an end.

STAR MAN: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain)

Zlatan will toast his 35th birthday in Ocrober and yet even at the back end of his career, Ibrahimovic is a figures who commands the attention of any defender he comes up against.

Strong in the air and technically efficient with the ball at his feet, his scoring and trophy record makes for hugely impressive reading. How he would love to shine in a winning Swedish effort at Euro 2016.

LOOK OUT FOR: Kim Kallstrom (Grasshoppers)

This midfielder is destined to go down in history as one of the most bizarre signings made by a top Premier League club, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger sanctioning a loan deal to sign Kallstrom in January 2014 even though he was already injured and unavailable to play for most of his loan spell.

Wenger argued he had long been an admirer of Kallstrom’s talents, but they have been fading talents for some time now and the weaknesses in his game could be exposed by the pace of the action at Euro 2016. He will have a role as a holding midfielder and need to defy the critics who believe he is past his best.

WILD CARD: Oscar Lewicki (Malmo)

After starting his career with Bayern Munich, Lewicki was a big star of the Swedish under-21 team that won the European championship title last year and that success has propelled him into the senior side.

In a Swedish midfield set-up that is functional rather than spectacular, this battling performer fits neatly into the kid of set-up Hamren has promoted during his time as Sweden boss. Don’t expect Lewicki to stand out as a star at Euro 2016, but he can be relied up on to do a solid job for his team.

VERDICT: Soccer lovers in the Republic of Ireland and Sweden drew a collective sigh of disappointment as they were thrown into a group alongside Belgium and Italy, but the stature of the games in Euro 2016 Group E has been put into perspective in the months since.

Belgium and Italy are teams with problems to solve, so Ireland and Sweden have realistic ambitions of shining in France. The Swede’s reliance on Ibrahimovic has long been a failing in their set-up and if their main man fails to shine, there generally don’t have a Plan B. Progress to the second phase of the competition is a realistic target, but Sweden are not likely to go much further.

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