After reaching the quarter-finals in Russia three years ago, Sweden will look to build upon this and reach the knockout stages once more.
Placed in a relatively open Group E, they could well achieve this. Spain will be favourites to progress but are vulnerable and they will hope to beat Poland and Slovakia to progress. They have been dealt a huge blow, however. Talisman Zlatan Ibrahimović was originally recalled out of retirement for the tournament but has since been ruled out through injury. At 39 he still has it and has been very impressive at Milan since his move in January 2020.
Group E: SWEDEN, Spain, Poland, Slovakia
Manager: Janne Andersson
Odds (PP): 90/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (quarter finals), Euro 2016 (group stage)
FIFA World Ranking: 18th
Emil Forsberg. The Leipzig man has rediscovered his form after a quiet couple of seasons. He can play in midfield, out wide and even played as a false nine for Leipzig at times this season. He finished with just 9 goals and 6 assists but was central to Leipzig’s 2nd place finish. He was very impressive in Sweden’s 3-1 friendly victory over Armenia on Saturday. He opened the scoring with a brilliant free kick, assisted the second with a corner and won a penalty in a scintillating first half-display. If he can produce similar performances, this summer Sweden could venture into the knockout stages again.
Robin Olsen is named and will start in goals. His heroic performances at the World Cup earned him a move to Roma and he now finds himself at Everton, where he has dislodged first choice Jordan Pickford at times this season.
The defence is quite strong. 2018 key man Andreas Granqvist is selected but at 36 is unlikely to start. Man United’s Victor Lindelöf will start, partnered by either Marcus Danielson, who plays with Dalian in the Chinese Super League, or Rangers Filip Helander. Brentford’s Pontus Jansson is also included.
Former Celtic right back Mikael Lustig, now at AIK, is selected and should start at right back. Joining him in the full-back department are Werder Bremen left back Ludwig Augustinsson and Newcastle’s Emil Krafth.
In midfield Sunderland legend Sebastian Larsson, aged 36, is again included. In the engine room Sampdoria’s Albin Edkal should start, most likely alongside Krasnodar’s Kristoffer Olssen. Bologna midfielder Mattias Svanberg is also in contention after a good season in Italy.
Juventus starlet Dejan Kulusevski is sure to start after a decent breakout season for The Old Lady. He could line-up up front or out wide, as is the case with Emil Forsberg.
In attack they plenty of options despite the absence of Ibrahimović. Veteran striker Marcus Berg is again included and at 34 is still quite prolific, with 9 goals in 21 league appearances for Krasnodar this season. Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak is selected and is set to lead the line after a very impressive season, scoring 17 goals in La Liga.
Mainz Robert Quaison and promising Spartak Moscow forward Jordan Larsson are also selected, and both can play anywhere across the frontline.
One to Watch
Jordan Larsson. Son of the great Henrik Larsson, the young Spartak Moscow forward is just off the back of a strong season, scoring 15 goals and assisting 5 in 29 league games. Blessed with pace, excellent close control dribbling and a lethal left footed shot, he cuts in from the right like a young Lionel Messi. While he may not start this summer with the likes of Kulusevski, Forsberg and Isak playing the same positions as him, he is sure to feature from the bench and is worth keeping a very close eye on.
Goalkeepers: Robin Olsen (Everton), Karl-Johan Johansson (FC Copenhagen), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Genclerbirligi)
Defenders: Mikael Lustig (AIK), Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United), Andreas Granqvist (Helsingborgs IF), Martin Olsson (BK Hacken), Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Filip Helander (Rangers), Emil Krafth (Newcastle), Pontus Jansson (Brentford), Marcus Danielson (Dalian Professional)
Midfielders: Sebastian Larsson (AIK), Albin Ekdal (Sampdoria), Marcus Berg (IFK Goteborg), Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig), Gustav Svensson (Guangzhou City), Ken Sema (Watford), Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar), Mattias Svanberg (Bologna), Kristoffer Olsson (Krasnodar)
Forwards: Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad), Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus) Robin Quaison (Mainz 05), Jordan Larsson (Spartak Moscow), Jens Cajuste (FC Midtjylland)