How did they make the play-offs?
Three draws from their opening four games left Sweden cut adrift from the top to begin with. A group that would be expected to be topped by Russia or Austria, Sweden’s aging squad were expected to battle in order to cause an upset. However, an inconsistent campaign, winning two games before losing to both Russia and Austria, and then finishing on a high with two wins, led to the Swedes just missing out on automatic qualification.
Have they ever qualified for the Euros?
Sweden’s first ever appearance in the championships came in 1992, when they hosted the event. It turned out to be their best finish in the competition, as they reached the semi-final, where they lost out to Germany thanks to Karl-Heinz Riedle’s brace. Since then they have been consistent in qualifying, reaching the quarter-finals in Portugal 2004, and the group stages in their other three appearances. If they were to get through the play-offs, the Swedes will have reached the past five finals, an impressive achievement for the nation.
Who’s their man in charge?
Sweden will look to Erik Hamren for inspiration to reach the finals. Despite not having much playing experience, Hamren has been a success in management, guiding Norwegian team Roseberg BK to the league championship in his first season in charge. The 58-year-old initially took charge of the Yellows alongside his role at Rosenborg, before he left a year later to focus on the national team. Now in his sixth year in charge, the former Ljusdal IF man has an impressive win percentage, at 58.33%. He has overseen 72 games in charge of Sweden, winning 42 and losing 20.
Who’s been their star man?
Even at 34-years-old, Sweden’s main man in this campaign, as he has been for so many years, is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Top scorer for his nation with eight goals and one assist, the PSG front man proved he can still consistently perform at the top level, by netting in six of his eight appearances, with two braces. The captain will be hoping to secure his nation a place in what could possibly be his last major tournament, and the disappointment of losing out to Portugal in the World Cup play-offs will spur himself and the Swedes on.
Will they be seen as a big threat?
The Scandinavians do have an aging squad, with the likes of Ibrahimovic, Kim Kallstrom and Sebastian Larsson, but the age also brings a great deal of experience. If the draw is kind to them, they would have a lot of confidence to get through to France. But if they were to come up against a difficult opponent such as Croatia or Ukraine, they might just fall short once again.