Guide to the Sweden Women’s Euro 2022 team: stars, players, coach, tactics, expectations…

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Insight

“It has never been so difficult,” said Swedish coach Peter Gerhardsson before announcing his squad for this summer’s Euros. “Since me and Magnus [assistant coach Wikman] resumed in 2017 the competition for places has not been at this level and I’m not just talking about the starting XI, it’s for the whole team. It will be difficult for some of the girls who will not make it.

Strength in depth is one of the reasons Sweden enter the tournament with high hopes. Qualifying for the Euros has never been a problem for Peter Gerhardsson’s side. After being placed in Group F with Iceland, Slovakia, Hungary and Latvia, they picked up big wins in the process – although they lost two points against Iceland, after a 1-0 draw. 1 in Reykjavík. “You never know until the end of qualifying how important a point will be,” Gerhardsson said afterwards. “Perhaps this one will be the most crucial.”

As it was Sweden won home game against Iceland 2-0 to book place in England and group opponents Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland will have to be mindful of the strength of the team on set pieces. Five defenders have scored 10 of Sweden’s 40 goals in the qualifiers, many of them in dead-ball situations. For comparison, the Swedes’ top scorer was the striker Anna Anvegardwho got five.

Gerhardsson isn’t afraid to change formation, but it’s likely to be 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 – although he opted for 5-3-2 in a recent qualification for the World Cup against Ireland. The backbone of the team has been together for a long time now – players such as Hedvig Lindahl, Magdalena Eriksson, Caroline Seger and Kosovare Asllani – and after the heartbreak of the Olympics final last year, when they lost on penalties, they will want to go all the way this time.

Johana Rytting Kaneryd of Sweden during a friendly international women's celebration between Sweden and Brazil

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Johana Rytting Kaneryd of Sweden during a friendly international women’s celebration between Sweden and Brazil NurPhotoGetty

The coach

Pierre Gerhardson. Aged 62, he took over after Euro 2017 and has won a medal in the two tournaments he has led so far (bronze at the 2019 World Cup and silver at the Tokyo Olympics). He was a top-flight player before becoming a manager, representing Hammarby between 1978 and 1987 among other clubs, and was in charge of Häcken’s men’s team before taking charge of the women’s national team.. When he was named coach of the women’s national team, there was a certain “Peter who?” about the reaction and some players had to google his name to find out how he was doing. Five years later, he can become the Swede most successful coach of all time if his team wins the Euro. Loves music and owns around 1500 CDs and 1700 vinyls.

star player

There are plenty of players who could fit that description but if we have to pick one, it comes down to Stina Blackstenius. She has grown as a person and as a player over the past two years – and that has been clear on the pitch. Jjoined Arsenal from Häcken in January 2022 and integrated seamlessly, developing a superb partnership with Vivianne Miedema as Gunners led the WSL title fight until the last day. In the Hedvig Lindahls podcast “Hela vägen mot målet”, Blackstenius spoke about how his personality developed, saying “I don’t think I’m shy today and it’s a very nice feeling. I ended up not being comfortable being the cautious person that I was and I envied people who found it easy to be more outgoing. I’m still introverted in many ways, but I like the feeling of being more forward.

Wildcard character

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd narrowly missed out on the Olympic team last year despite having a superb season for her club Häcken. But she appears to have used that disappointment to step her game up a few notches as she has been a regular for Sweden since the tournament and is now an integral part of Gerhardsson’s attack. The 25-year-old’s journey to the top hasn’t been easy, but she says “she has grown mentally and as a player” because of the setbacks, adding “I want to win in everything I take part in”. With qualities similar to those of England’s Lauren Hemp, that is to say a quick and determined player who likes to face her opponents one-on-one, she seems certain to have a good summer.

Probable composition

There are three different options that we could see from the Swedish team this summer. A 4-3-3, 3-4-3 or 5-3-2 formation (which they used in their World Cup qualifier against Ireland).

I think Gerhardsson is most likely to play with a 4-3-3: Lindahl – Eriksson, Sembrant, Ilestedt, Glas – Seger, Angeldal, Asllani – Rolfö, Blackstenius, Rytting Kaneryd.

3-4-3: Lindahl – Eriksson, Ilestedt Sembrant – Andersson, Seger, Angeldal, Glas – Asllani, Rolfö, Blackstenius.

heroes of all time

There are many players who have had a big impact on women’s football in Sweden, such as Lotta Schelin, Victoria Sandell Svensson, Pia Sundhage and Hanna Ljungberg to name a few. However, the one that stands out above all is Caroline Seger, who is still part of the Sweden squad. In 2021, she became the most capped Swedish player of any gender and surpassed 220 games for her country. She overcame the devastation of missing a decisive penalty against Canada in the Olympics final to pursue her amazing career. His debut in Sweden was in March 2005. Off the pitch, she was also a huge influence, fighting and winning the battle for equal pay for the men’s and women’s national team (bonuses from major finals are still not included).

history of the euro

Sweden has a proud history of the euro, winning the first in 1984 and having always reached at least the quarter-finals. Jhe inaugural tournament gold medal is the only one Sweden has ever won – in men’s or women’s football. In addition, Sweden also lost three finals (1987, 1995 and 2001). At the last Euros, Sweden felt they had a strong chance of winning the tournament, but were knocked out in the quarter-finals against eventual winners, the Netherlands.

Realistic goal for this summer

Considering the fact that Sweden reached the Olympic final with just about that team hopes are high that they can at least reach the final, with gold being a realistic goal.

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