Euro 2016 Group E


13 June – Republic of Ireland (5pm GMT, Stade de France, Saint-Denis)
17 June - Italy (2pm GMT, Stadium Municipal, Toulouse)
22 June - Belgium (8pm GMT, Allianz Riviera, Nice)

Qualifying for their fifth successive European Championships, Sweden have a squad capable of challenging for a knockout place. Luca Cetta writes.

Swedes cannot be underestimated

Sweden go to France with the aim of reaching the knockout phase. Following successive group stage eliminations, advancing from a group containing Italy and former World No 1 Belgium would be seen as a fine achievement. In a squad containing some experienced customers, back the Swedes to give the two Group E front-runners a hard time.

Coach: Erik Hamren — In charge since 2009, Erik Hamren leads Sweden at a second major tournament. A coach with an attacking philosophy, he will step down after the French adventure.

Preferred XI: Isaksson; Lustig, Granqvist, Johansson, Olsson; Larsson, Kallstrom, Ekdal, Forsberg; Ibrahimovic, Berg.

Sweden can count on the experience of centurions Andreas Isaksson, Kim Kallstrom and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, plus a fairly settled line-up. They will utilise a 4-4-2 system as in qualifying. Kallstrom and Sebastian Larsson offer creativity in midfield, with Ibrahimovic the central focus in attack.

Look out for: As at Paris Saint-Germain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is critical to Sweden’s chances. Their captain and all-time leading scorer, the 34-year-old has scored in the past three European Championships. He also netted 11 times in 10 outings last year. Not only is Ibrahimovic a clinical finisher, but also a creative outlet for the Swedes.

Did you know?

  • Sweden will be contesting their sixth European Championship out of the last seven tournaments
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 11 goals in Euro 2016 qualifying
  • Sweden have won just one of four matches so far in 2016

Sweden versus…

…Republic of Ireland P 10 W 5 D 2 L 3 F 16 A 13
…Italy P 22 W 6 D 6 L 10 F 24 A 27
…Belgium P 14 W 5 D 2 L 7 F 30 A 22


Population: 9.8m
Nickname: Blagult
Calcio fans might remember... Tomas Brolin – Parma (1990-1995, 1997)
Top Division: Allsvenskan
FIFA World Ranking: 36
International honours: None
Most capped player: Anders Svensson (148)
Leading international scorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (62)
Sweden at the European Championships:

1960 - Did not enter
1964 - Did not qualify
1968 - Did not qualify
1972 - Did not qualify
1976 - Did not qualify
1980 - Did not qualify
1984 - Did not qualify
1988 - Did not qualify
1992 - Semi-finals
1996 - Did not qualify
2000 - Group stage
2004 - Quarter-finals
2008 - Group stage
2012 - Group stage

How they got to Euro 2016: Sweden defeated Denmark 4-3 on aggregate in a play-off after finishing third in Group G.