Euro 2012: Sweden team profile

BBC Sport takes a closer look at the 16 teams who will contest the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine. Spain are the defending champions. Can Sweden take their crown?

Sweden

HOW DO THEY PLAY?

Former Sweden coach Lars Lagerback: "When Erik Hamren took over he wanted to play attacking football but during qualification he quickly realised you need to have a lot more balanced line-up and they are more balanced now, particularly defensively. They are a well-organised Swedish team with everyone working hard in defence. They can keep the ball very well but also hit teams on the attack too. They will look to do that as much as possible."

Likely formation: 4-4-2

Possible starting XI: Andreas Isaksson; Mikael Lustig, Jonas Olsson, Olof Mellberg, Martin Olsson; Seb Larsson (if recovered from injury), Rasmus Elm, Anders Svensson, Kim Kallstrom; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Johan Elmander

Continue reading the main story
Olsson

A very good season with a top half finish! Good memories

STAR MAN

One of the most outspoken names in European football, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's totem. No question - the former Barcelona striker has rich talent. But doubts remain about his ability to apply it on the biggest stage. Here, perhaps, is his chance to silence those critics. He once said he was the best player in the world. Let's see.

ONE TO WATCH

Lyon's left-footed midfielder Kim Kallstrom conjured up seven assists in qualifying - the most of any European player across the entire campaign (along with Germany's Mesut Ozil). He also chipped in with three goals. The 29-year-old will be aiming to utilise the influence he has gained in winning more than 80 caps for his country.

RECORD AGAINST ENGLAND

Tidy. Lost 1-0 against England at Wembley in the last match for both before the draw, Gareth Barry nodding the winner. Regular foes, they drew 2-2 in the group stages at the 2006 World Cup in Germany - and 1-1 at the 2002 World Cup in Japan & Korea. Sweden inflicted a painful 2-1 defeat on Graham Taylor's England at Euro '92.

BEST QUALIFYING PERFORMANCE

Sweden's qualifiers

Result Score Opposition

Top scorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 5

W

2-0

Hungary (h)

W

6-0

San Marino (h)

L

4-1

Netherlands (a)

W

2-1

Moldova (h)

W

4-1

Moldova (a)

W

5-0

Finland (h)

L

2-1

Hungary (a)

W

5-0

San Marino (a)

W

2-1

Finland (a)

W

3-2

Netherlands (h)

Needing a win against the Netherlands to ensure Euro 2012 qualification as best runners-up, and thus avoid the potentially treacherous play-offs, Sweden produced the goods (a 3-2 victory in Stockholm) when it mattered against a team who had won every match of their group E campaign up to that point.

Going 2-1 down soon after half time, they nervelessly delivered an immediate response. Within 60 seconds Sebastian Larsson buried a penalty before, just a minute later, PSV Eindhoven forward Ola Toivonen put the determined hosts back in front - and his delirious nation on their way to Euro 2012.

THE BOSS

Erik Hamren has proved his worth after taking over from Lars Lagerback when Sweden failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. One of the most respected coaches in Scandanavia, he has managed teams in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Took Aalborg to the Danish title - and into the European Champions League - back in 2008.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP PEDIGREE

Decent. Sweden were inspired by playing in front of their home fans in 1992, beating England 2-1 in the group stages as they made the last four. Unfortunately an even more talented Germany side - the reigning world champions - stood in the way of Thomas Brolin and Co, beating the hosts 3-2 in Stockholm with two Karlheinz Reidle goals.

WORLD CUP RECORD

You know the grainy footage where a fresh-faced Pele slays some unwitting victims to inspire his Brazil team to a euphoric victory in the World Cup final aged just 17? The other team was bewildered Sweden. The 1958 World Cup runners-up had not even qualified four years earlier but thrived on the pressure of playing on home soil.

SWEDEN'S GROUP D FIXTURES

  • 11 June - Ukraine (Kiev)
  • 15 June - England (Kiev)
  • 19 June - France (Kiev)

2012 OLYMPIC HOPEFUL

Three-time world heptathlon champion and Swedish pin-up girl Carolina Kluft announced last year that she will quit athletics after the London Olympics.

Olympic champion in 2004, she now competes in the long jump having switched events in 2008. She made her international breakthrough with gold at the European championships in Munich in 2002, before securing the Olympic title in Athens two years later.

FAMOUS FACE

The late Karl Stig-Erland Larsson, better known as Stieg Larsson , wrote some of the best-read novels of recent times: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. Daniel Craig starred in a Hollywood film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in December 2011.

NUMBER ONE EXPORT

Ikea . The Swedish company, founded in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, is now the world's largest furniture retailer. With nearly 300 stores across the globe, it even has one in the Dominican Republic.