2008 Sweden Euro Soccer Preview
by Doc's Sports - 05/28/2008
As a very dangerous team that you wouldn't normally associate as being a world football power, the Swedes will be no easy out this summer. Not to dumb down their style of football, but Sweden is almost a Denver Nuggets-type of squad: Lethal scoring, almost to the point where they emphasize their attacking too much and forget about the necessity of defense.
Sweden has competed in three of the last four Euro Championships. In 1992 they impressed all the way to a semi-final appearance. They failed to qualify in 1996 in England, but bounced back with consecutive qualifications in both 2000 and 2004.
They reached 2008's version by finishing second in Group F behind Spain. They draw the Spaniards in the same quadrant in group play, as well as a meeting between Russia and defending champion Greece.
Golden Player Watch - Zlatan Ibrahimovic, F
A very charismatic character up front for Sweden, his success is vital if they are to have any shot to advance to the quarterfinals. And it was very impressive that Sweden advanced past group play in the 2006 World Cup, a tournament that Ibrahimovic performed very poorly in.
Only 26 years old, the 6'5'' striker has already netted 18 goals in 49 caps for the senior national team. Zlatan plays his club ball for Serie A side Inter Milan, and previously for Italy side Juventus. During his current and former stints Ibrahimovic has scored an impressive 55 goals in three seasons with the two Italian clubs.
On November 12, 2007, he was awarded the 2007 Swedish Golden Ball as they country's top player of the year. He comes into Austria and Switzerland on a high after back-to-back club titles with Inter and he individual game is looking very promising. He possesses all the ability, but with him it's just a matter if he makes his presence felt in matches.
Reason Why They Will Advance to Elimination Round
Offensively, there is no question Sweden can compete with any of the 15 other nations in this summer's field. The Swedes will make things uncomfortable for opposing defenses with the likes of Fredrik Ljungberg, Marcus Allback, Henrik Larsson and Marcus Rosenberg.
The one issue will be if they can limit the chances in the back four, especially when facing very talented sides in Spain and Greece, not to mention a very feisty Russia side that is rapidly improving.
Group Play Schedule
Sweden vs. Greece - June 10
Sweden vs. Spain - June 14
Sweden vs. Russia - June 18