EURO 2020: Sweden – Can they do it again without Ibrahimovic?

Aadit Mehta
By Aadit Mehta
4 Min Read

Sweden reached the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup for the first time in its history, despite the absence of a world superstar. Zlatan Ibrahimovic came out of retirement to play in World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo, as well as a friendly against Estonia. He is not, however, included in the Euro 2020 squad due to injury.

Janne Andersson has yet to find the right blend of youth and experience, but the Swedes are dangerous even without Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They’ve recovered their winning touch after a poor Nations League season, and they’ll be hoping that can propel them to a deep run in the competition.

Sweden, an ever-present side in the European Championship in the twenty-first century, hopes to end their three-year streak of being eliminated in the group stages. They have enough talent to produce big results, but it remains to be seen whether they can play as a cohesive unit to break their group stage curse.

The Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson (København), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Gençlerbirliği), Robin Olsen (Everton).

Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Pierre Bengtsson (Vejle), Marcus Danielson (Dalian Yifang), Andreas Granqvist (Helsingborg), Filip Helander (Rangers), Pontus Jansson (Brentford), Emil Krafth (Newcastle United), Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United), Mikael Lustig (AIK).

Midfielders: Jens-Lys Cajuste (Midtjylland), Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar), Albin Ekdal (Sampdoria), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus), Sebastian Larsson (AIK), Kristoffer Olsson (Krasnodar), Ken Sema (Watford), Mattias Svanberg (Bologna), Gustav Svensson (Guangzhou).

Forwards: Marcus Berg (Krasnodar), Robin Quaison (Mainz), Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), Jordan Larsson (Spartak Moskva).

Group Stage Fixtures:

  • Spain vs Sweden, June 14 (21:00, Seville)
  • Sweden vs Slovakia, June 18 (15:00, St Petersburg)
  • Sweden vs Poland, June 23 (18:00, St Petersburg)

Star Player

Embed from Getty Images

Alexander Isak ignited the Stockholm derby on fire in 2020, celebrating his 17th birthday with a bang. In a match against arch-rivals Djurgrdens IF, the youthful attacker scored an emphatic brace for AIK. The forward is tall, prolific, and gifted with exceptional technical skill, as well as the ability to read the game and identify gaps between defenders.

Isak has already drawn parallels between himself and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. After being linked with Real Madrid, he moved to Dortmund in 2017. In 2019, he finally made it to La Liga, where he has established himself as a regular starter for Real Sociedad. In La Liga, Isak has made quite an impression. He also scored twice against Real Madrid in the Spanish Cup.

Predicted Lineup

Goalkeeper – Robin Olsen.
Defenders – Emil Krafth, Victor Lindelof, Pontus Jansson, Ludwig Augustinsson.
Midfielders – Dejan Kulusevski, Albin Ekdal, Sebastian Larsson, Emil Forsberg.
Forwards – Alexander Isak, Robin Quaison.

Predicted Finish

Sweden should be entertaining to watch, but they are only beginning the process of defining themselves beyond the foundation of Granqvist, Larsson, and Berg. In the end, it may take a tournament or two for them to realise their evident potential. If Andersson can find a way to mix youth and experience, they have a chance to duplicate their 2018 success and go to the quarterfinals. As they face a difficult Group E, getting the best of Poland could be crucial. However, the most probable finish for the Swedes is in the Round of 16.

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