Euro 2016 Scouting Report: What you need to know about Sweden
Sweden will present one of the more difficult sides to gauge in this summer’s European Championships, but one which has talent to cause problems for any opponent.
England fans will know only too well what Sweden are capable of, following the 4-0 demolition from Zlatan and his team less than four years ago.
Sweden didn’t impress in qualifying, winning just five of their 10 games to finish third behind Russia and Austria.
However Erik Hamren’s men stepped it up to beat Denmark in a fraught two-legged play-off and head to France with a healthy blend of youth and experience.
Here’s what you need to know…
Danger Man – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
No contest here. With eight strikes in the group stage and three vital goals to oust rivals Denmark in a fierce play-off, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s impact on Sweden’s fortunes was huge.
Enjoying arguably his finest season with PSG, failure to make the finals this summer threatened to curtail Zlatan’s time on the big stage a little prematurely.
But while fans will revel in witnessing one more summer of creative magic, Belgium, Italy and Ireland defences won’t be so keen. Capable of goals from anywhere on the pitch, Zlatan can win games almost at will, even at 34.
Under the Radar – Oscar Lewicki
Alongside fellow Oscar Hiljemark, Malmo’s Lewicki was a mainstay in Sweden’s U21 European Championship success last year, and has since become a regular alongside the experienced Kim Kallstrom in the senior team’s midfield.
The former Bayern Munich youth man played every minute of his country’s play-off win, and could become the subject of much transfer attention should he show what he’s capable of this summer.
A holding man to break up attacks, the 23-year-old has all the potential to be one of Sweden’s stars in France.
The Lynch Pin – Kim Kallstrom
With a host of under 25s in the squad, 33-year-old Kim Kallstrom will need to garner all his experience this summer to keep his country ticking.
With over 125 caps, the former Lyon man is one of Sweden’s most experienced players of all time, and hasn’t lost any of his creative talent.
A set-piece ace too, it’ll be up to Kallstrom to ensure Zlatan gets his chances.
At 50/1 it seems Sweden are unlikely to be victorious this summer, but with Zlatan in the side you just never know.
Plenty capable of beating anyone on their day, the Swedes will have to improve on a record which has seen them exit at the group stages in three of the last four tournaments.
The 5/1 to win Group E could be pretty popular however, in what is a difficult quartet of teams, while the 3/5 on progression seems solid with Zlatan looking to star on the big stage for possibly the last time.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.