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Are Sweden genuine World Cup contenders or just the best of the rest?

Sweden, managed by Peter Gerhardsson, will be aiming to get their hands on the biggest prize of them all, the World Cup.

This Swedish team aren’t short of experience in reaching the latter stages of major tournaments, coming third in the previous World Cup and being beaten by eventual winners England in the Euros 2022 semi-finals. Can they build on their previous major tournament performances and win the World Cup?

Build up to the World Cup – qualifiers and friendlies

Their unbeaten World Cup qualifying campaign suggests there’s no reason why they cannot dream big. They boasted an impressive points tally of 13 points from a possible 15, whilst scoring 26 goals and only conceding 2 goals. Results included a thumping 15-0 victory over Georgia and a 5-0 win over Finland.

However, recent friendlies haven’t gone to plan, and they will be heading into the tournament with just 1 win in the last 5 fixtures. Performances and results will have to improve if they are to compete with some of the tournament favourites (US, England, Spain).

Despite their poor form going into the tournament, Sweden is ranked the 3rd best team in the world and they are blessed with an abundance of quality at their disposal, so it would be silly to write off their chances of glory.

Players to look out for...

Stina Blackstenius

Age: 27 years old

Position: Striker/forward

Club: Arsenal

Blackstenius has enjoyed a super season for Arsenal. With forwards Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema ruled out with long-term injuries, Arsenal needed Blackstenius to step up and that’s exactly what she has done.

She has played an influential role in Arsenal’s Champions league run to the semi-finals, as well as securing Champions League football for next season. She has registered 8 WSL goals and an impressive 9 goal contributions (5 goals, 4 assists) in 10 Champions League games. Blackstenius will be hoping to add to her 28 international goals and help Sweden progress to the latter stages of the tournament.

Fridolina Rolfo

Age: 29 years old

Position: Left Wing

Club: FC Barcelona

Rolfo is an integral player in this Sweden team. She is a technically gifted player who possesses a magical left foot and has the unique ability to skip past players with ease. She predominantly plays left wing, but can operate in any of the forward positions.

For Barcelona, she has 16 goal contributions in 21 matches in the Primera Division Women. Alongside her impressive league campaign, Rolfo scored the winning goal against her former team, Wolfsburg, in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final to deliver Barcelona their 2nd Champions League in the last 3 years. If Sweden are to go all the way, Rolfo will undoubtedly have a big role to play.

World cup fixtures

Sweden are in Group G alongside Argentina (FIFA ranking 28), Italy (FIFA ranking 16), and South Africa (FIFA ranking 54)

Their fixtures are as follows:

  • South Africa (Jul 23, 6:00am)

  • Italy (Jul 29, 8:30am)

  • Argentina (Aug 2, 8:00am)

They will be firm favourites to top the group and progress to the knockout stages, where they will have their eyes set on lifting the most prestigious trophy in world football. With their experience in major tournaments and their squad full of top-class players, Sweden is most definitely a team to look out for.

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