he first winners of the Women’s European Championships look like lively underdogs as the tournament kicks off in England this summer.
Sweden’s group stage clash with defending champions the Netherlands promises to be one of the highlights of the early rounds, but the Swedes are hoping to go much further.
Here we take a look at their chances…
Best result: Winners (1984)
Europe’s first champions have, barring a dominating Germany, been the most consistent side on the continent, but will be desperate to end their 38-year wait for a second major tournament success.
Since that first triumph, Sweden have reached four finals and seven other semi-finals at World Cups and European Championships without crossing the finish line, and have also won silver at each of the last two Games. Olympics.
Coach: Peter Gerhardsson
Gerhardsson has spent his entire playing career in his native country and had only coached men’s football before taking up his current role after Euro 2017, after guiding Gothenburg side BK Hacken to victory. Swedish Cup, the first major trophy in their history.
The 62-year-old led Sweden to a third-place finish at the 2019 World Cup and then missed out on Olympic gold last summer after a penalty shootout loss to Canada.
Key player: Stina Blackstenius
Increasingly familiar to England fans following her WSL spell with Arsenal in January, Blackstenius is regarded as one of the best strikers on the planet.
The 26-year-old has a stellar record at major tournaments, netting Sweden’s round of 16 and quarter-final winner at the 2019 World Cup, before finding the net five times at the Tokyo Olympics.
Decent. Sweden have not had as many emphatic victories over minor opponents as some of the other main contenders, but their only ‘loss’ in the last twelve months has come on penalties in the Olympic final.
They got a bit more kicking practice by beating Italy in a shootout in the Algarve Cup final earlier this year, despite being denied a decent test against Denmark earlier in this tournament after their Scandinavian neighbors lost due to a Covid outbreak.
Guardians: Jennifer Falk (Hacken), Hedvig Lindahl (Atletico Madrid), Zecira Musovic (Chelsea).
Defenders: Magdalena Eriksson (Chelsea), Hanna Glas (Bayern Munich), Jonna Andersson (Hammarby), Nathalie Bjorn (Everton), Amanda Ilestedt (Paris Saint-Germain), Emma Kullberg (Brighton), Amanda Nilden (Juventus), Linda Sembrant (Juventus ).
Midfielders: Caroline Seger (Rosengard), Filippa Angeldahl (Manchester City), Hanna Bennison (Everton), Kosovare Asllani (Real Madrid), Elin Rubensson (Hacken), Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (Hacken).
Forwards: Lina Hurtig (Juventus), Fridolina Rolfo (Barcelona), Stina Blackstenius (Arsenal), Sofia Jakobsson (San Diego Wave), Rebecka Blomqvist (Wolfsburg), Olivia Schough (Rosengard).
Group stage schedule
- July 9 – The Netherlands (Bramall Lane – 8 p.m.)
- July 13 – Switzerland (Bramall Lane – 5pm)
- July 17 – Portugal (Leigh Sports Village – 5pm)
You can follow the Women’s Euro on Standard Sport this summer!