Written by: Aissa Huysmans
The Swedish women’s soccer team, nicknamed Blågult (The Blueyellow), has consistently performed at a high level at international competitions, always presenting a threat to their opponents. The Swedish team has qualified for all 7 Women’s World Cups, and in the last World Cup in 2011 they finished the tournament in third-place (1). Their national women’s league, Damallsvenskan, is ranked one of the best in the world. The Swedish team comes into this years World Cup ranked 5th, solidly establishing them as a major player in the upcoming tournament (2). The Swedes playing style is often described as more possession-based as well as defense focused, with their most experienced players building a solid line in the midfield.
Currently, Sweden’s head coach is Pia Sundhage, who previously coached the USA women’s soccer team (2). This fact may play a key role in Sweden’s performance against their fellow power house US team. Sundhage knows many of the American players and their style of play very well, giving her a distinct advantage when it comes to prepping for the big duel. During her time as head coach of the US team, Sundhage turned the team around, helping them gel together as a unit and as a result led them to many victories (3). When she was offered the position as head coach of her native Swedish team, she could not say no. If anyone could bring the Swedish team the World Cup victory they’ve been waiting for, it is Sundhage. Sundhage is well decorated and has received a number of accolades for her coaching achievements. Her aim for this years team is to help them create more goal scoring opportunities by developing a more possession-focused style of play (4).
Sundhage is huge in the world of women’s soccer, not only as a coach, but as a former player. Now that she is back in her home country, she has even been tied to talk around being asked to coach the men’s soccer team – and what a historical moment that would be (5)!
“Measured in terms of competence and leadership, as well as in terms of achievements, Pia is thus unique among Swedish football coaches. It’s very difficult to find someone who has a better profile to lead a national team,” – Tor Krusell (5)
“This question may appear to be one related to gender equality, but it is just as much about ambition and achievement. Swedish men’s football team has a greater chance of success by having Pia Sundhage as its head coach. Of course, it remains to be seen if Pia would choose the men’s team ahead of the women’s and isn’t something that should be taken for granted. But she should at least be asked the question,” Krusell said (5).
With Sundhage leading this years national team, the Swedes are looking even more threatening than usual. The Swedish team have huge potential to upset the US team, and have done so in the past.
For a flashback to the last World Cup match-up between Sweden and the US, watch the video below:
Highlights from the last Sweden vs US group stage game at the 2011 FIFA Womens World Cup from YouTube user FIFATV
The Swedish team constantly performs well in the World Cup, but are yet to come out victorious. This group will certainly push them to play some of their best soccer right from the get go. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Player to Watch: Lotta Schelin
The Swedish team, who in qualifications only allowed in one goal, are aiming to create more scoring opportunities in the upcoming tournament. A key player to make this happen is forward Lotta Schelin. The Swedes will be looking to her to inspire their attack and create opportunities for the team (6). Schelin currently plays for Olympique Lyon in France where in their 2012/2013 season she was the top scorer of the league (6). She is also currently the record holder of most goals scored for Sweden, surpassing the previous record of 72 goals held by Hanna Ljungberg. She is often jokingly compared to fellow Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“We keep taking small steps all the time. A medal is absolutely what we’re going for now. We got the bronze last time and are looking to improve on that.” – Lotta Schelin (4)
Check out this video for highlights of some of the goals Schelin has scored:
Lotta Schelin goal highlights from Youtube user JigsawWill
Let’s see how the Swedes turn up at the upcoming World Cup!
1. Norway and Sweden preview. http://semper.soccersavings.com/soccersavings-2015-womens-world-cup-team-previews-norway-and-sweden/
2. US Soccer Group D. http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2014/12/06/13/34/141206-wnt-usa-draws-group-d-for-2015-wc
3. Pia Sundhage and the Swedish National Team. http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/pia-sundhage-aims-to-bring-sweden-their-first-world-title-but-she-faces-a-familiar-foe-121714
4. Sweden Statistics. http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/teams/team=1882883/index.html
5. Pia Sundhage coaching career. http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/pia-sundhage-kindly-offers-no-advice-for-her-old-team-united-states-womens-national-team-041115
6. Lotta Schelin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotta_Schelin
1. Swedish Team. http://semper.soccersavings.com/soccersavings-2015-womens-world-cup-team-previews-norway-and-sweden/
2. Sweden’s World Cup Appearances. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweden_women’s_national_football_team
3. Lotta Schelin. http://www.worldfootball.net/player_summary/lotta-schelin/
How to cite this article: “Sweden” Written by Aissa Huysmans (2015), World Cup 2015, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/world-cup-guides/world-cup-2015-guide/sweden/ (accessed on (date)).