The Sweden national football team, for the twelfth time in its history, will take part in the FIFA World Cup. The Swedes took the second place in the uphill Group A of European qualification. The Scandinavians won six victories, made one draw and lost three matches which allowed them to go ahead the Netherlands and Bulgaria national football teams in the table. The victory of the Scandinavians over Luxembourg, score 8:0, became decisive. This score provided the Swedes with a necessary difference of scored and missed goals thanks to which Sweden appeared above the Netherlands in the table. But Sweden won the main victory in the play-offs. As a result of drawing, the Swedes received in opponents the Italy national football team and were considered as the obvious underdog. But an ideal game in defense allowed “The Blue-Yellows” to overcome the titled opponent and to get through into the World Cup for the first time in 12 years.
The four of eleven participations of Sweden in the World Cups are worth to be distinguished. The 1938 FIFA World Cup France became the second in the history of the Sweden national football team. The Blue-Yellows overcame the first round without struggle: because of an Anschluss, the Swedes opponent the Austria national football team left the tournament. In the quarterfinal Sweden unexpectedly crushed the Cuba national football team, score 8:0, then for the first time in history they reached the World Cup semi-final. The forwards Gustav Wetterstrom and Tore Keller each placed three goals in the match to their accounts. Unfortunately, that time the Swedes didn’t manage to win medals — in the semi-final Sweden lost to the Hungary national football team, and in the match for the third place — to Brazil.
But already in the next World Cup in Brazil, Tre Kronors won the bronze medals. The Swedes won the first place in the group thanks to the victory over Italy and a draw against the Paraguay national football team, then they left for the final stage where the four winners of the groups took part. In the final round, the Sweden suffered a severe defeat from the tournament hosts, the Brazil national football team (score 1:6) and also yielded in the match ending to the team of Uruguay, 2:3. But the last match victory over the team of Spain allowed The Blue-Yellows to take the third place in the World Cup, and for the first time ever to win the World Cup medals.
In 1958, Sweden became the country hosting the World Cup. In the 50s the Sweden was considered as one of the strongest national teams in the world, therefore in the home World Cup she was considered as favourites. And she was quite ready to meet expectations of their fans. At the group stage Tre Kronors twice won a victory and drew once which allowed the Swedes to leave from the first place for play-offs. In the quarterfinal the tournament hosts outplayed the USSR national football team, thanks to Simonsson and Hamrin’s goals. In the semi-final Sweden outplayed the Germany national football team, score 3:1, having held the best game in the tournament. In the final “The Blue-Yellows” was broken by the Brazil national football team which for the first time won in the World Cups. Nevertheless, in the home 1958 tournament, the first and so far the last time in history, they could reach the World Cup final, thereby getting into the elite of the world football.
The following success of the Swedes waited for almost 50 years. In the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA, the Swedes weren’t considered as favourites, however, again like in the 1958, they could go up to the podium. Sweden began the tournament with a draw against the Cameroon national football team, 2:2. To get into the play-offs The Blue-Yellows had to win the Russia national football team what they did brilliantly. They began the match missing a goal, then the Swedes managed to score three goals into the net of the Russia team. In the last round of the group stage Tre Kronors drew with the future World Cup Winner, Brazil. In round of last 16 Sweden easily beat the Saudi Arabia team (victory 3:1), in the quarterfinal they won against the Romania national football team on penalties. Only in the semi-final the Swedes were stopped by the Brazil. In the second match of these teams in the tournament, the victory was celebrated by the South Americans, 1:0.
In the match for the third place, the Sweden national football team crushed another sensational team of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Bulgaria, 4:0. In the tournament the attacking players of Sweden national football team Tomas Brolin, Martin Dahlin and Kenneth Andersson showed themselves perfectly. These three scored 12 goals in the tournament.
Sweden has performed in the UEFA European Championships six times, and Tre Kronors have missed no European forum since 2000. But the Swedes showed the best result in the home tournament in 1992. They played greatly in the group round, in the play-offs they beat the most experienced national teams of England and France, but in the semi-final they lost to the invincible at that time German team. The match for the third place in the European Championships was not held, therefore the Swedes automatically got the bronze medals.
The today’s Sweden national football team is presented by players of various championships, including Russian Football Premier League, but it is hard to point out someone. It is rumored that in the World Cup the team top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic can return to the national team, but there is no official information yet. Janne Andersson’s players are strong, first of all, with their team game and game in defense. However, the Swedes can hardly ever expect to great success in Russia, most likely the Scandinavian national team won’t be able even to leave the group.