Euro 2016 Group E Preview: Sweden

Sweden will look to Zlatan Ibrahimovic to inspire them to success at Euro 2012, but can Erik Hamren’s side cause a few shocks in France or are they destined to remain in the group?

Sweden failed to make it out of thier group in thier last two Euros image: skysports.com

Sweden failed to make it out of the group in their last two Euro campaigns
image: skysports.com

History

Sweden head to a sixth European Championship.

Their best result came on home soil in 1992 when they reached the semi-finals. They reached the quarter-finals in 2004 but in their other campaigns in 2000, 2008 and 2012, they failed to make it out the group.

Key Player

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to sign for Man United after his PSG contract expired image: rte.ie

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to sign for Man United after his PSG contract expired
image: rte.ie

34-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic is showing no signs of burning out and actually could be getting better with age, as he hopes to lead Sweden to success and show Man United fans what they could be in store for next season.

The powerful striker is out of contract at PSG after four seasons with the French side, scoring 156 goals in 180 appearances and won four consecutive Ligue 1 titles. Even at 34 years old, he still managed 31 league goals for the French champions last season.

The Bosnian-born striker was influential in Sweden qualifying for Euro 2016 with 11 goals and he will hope to add a few more in France to become the first man to score in four separate Euros in what could be his final tournament.

One to Watch 

24-year-old Emil Forsberg is easily one of the German 2. Bundesliga’s best players, but can the Leipzig winger take the step up to the next level and show he is key player for the Sweden national team?

Emil Forsberg scored the only goal in a play-off win over Denmark image: gazzettaworld.com

Emil Forsberg has two goals in 17 appearances for Sweden
image: gazzettaworld.com

Left-winger Forsberg scored eight goals in over 30 appearances for his club last season to earn promotion to the top-flight in Germany. He may have only 17 Swedish caps so far but he scored a crucial goal in the play-off against Denmark that got his country here.

He will hope to become an important player for Sweden and Forsberg will be a tricky customer for his group E rivals to handle with his crafty skills down the right-wing, as he searches out for Ibrahimovic to head the ball home.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson (Kasimpasa), Robin Olsen (Copenhagen), Patrik Carlgren (AIK).

Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson (Copenhagen), Erik Johansson (Copenhagen), Pontus Jansson (Torino), Victor Lindelof (Benfica) Andreas Granqvist (Krasnodar), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Martin Olsson (Norwich).

Midfielders: Jimmy Durmaz (Olympiakos), Albin Ekdal (Hamburg), Oscar Hiljemark (Palermo), Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland), Pontus Wernbloom (CSKA Moscow), Erkan Zengin (Trabzonspor), Oscar Lewicki (Malmo), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Kim Kallstrom (Grasshoppers).

Strikers: Marcus Berg (Panathinaikos), John Guidetti (Celta Vigo), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St. Germain), Emir Kujovic (Norrkoping).

Sweden reached the semi-finals on home soil in 1992 image: sportsjoe.ie

Sweden reached the semi-finals on home soil in 1992
image: sportsjoe.ie

Prediction: Last 16

It was 11 goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic that got Sweden here but looking at the rest of the team, they lack the same amount of quality and in a tough group, they will need to be on their A-game.

They have a few decent midfielders in the likes of Kim Kallstrom and Oscar Hijemark but their defence is the main cause for concern. They did need a play-off victory over Denmark to get here after finishing third behind Austria and Russia in their qualifying group.

It is Sweden’s first game against Ireland that will likely decide if they scrape through to the last 16 in third place or head for an early flight home. If Ibrahimovic is on form, they should scrape through as one of the best third-placed teams but the second round is where it will end.

Sweden’s Fixtures

13 Jun v Ireland (1700)

17 Jun v Italy (1400)

22 Jun v Belgium (2000)

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