Euro 2012 Preview: 10 Things to Know About Sweden
Euro 2012 is fast approaching and Bleacher Report is giving readers a rundown of the participants. We'll be taking a look at Sweden in this slideshow.
Sixteen teams will be competing to be the named the best team in Europe, and Sweden will probably be among the dark horses.
Here are a few things to know about Sweden for the upcoming European Championships.
Sweden will be in Group D with tournament co-hosts Ukraine as well France and England.
Toughest Group Game
Sweden has played both Ukraine and England in friendlies during the last few months. They defeated the Ukraine, and will likely do so again, but lost to England in November.
The French team will present an interesting challenge and could end up being the make-or-break game for the Swedes, especially if the results of their previous games with Sweden and England are repeated.
Euro 2012 Base
Sweden will be based at the Koncha Zaspa Training Centre in Kyiv. Ukraine is the only other team based in that city.
This Swedish team will have a lot of experience from front to back.
Andreas Isaksson and Olof Mellberg will be expected to organize things in the back, Anders Svensson and Kim Kallstrom will try to control the middle, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Johan Elmander will be handed the scoring responsibilities.
Both Mellberg and Svensson have over 100 caps each, while Isaksson, Kallstrom, Ibrahimovic and Elmander all bring in 50-plus caps of experience to Euro 2012.
Sweden will play both Iceland and Serbia in warm-up games before heading on over to Ukraine.
John Guidetti would be the first name that comes to mind when you think of up-and-coming youngsters on the Swedish squad.
Players like Rasmus Elm, Ola Toivonen and Martin Olsson are also in that category, though at 24, 25 and 23, respectively, they are a bit older.
There are a lot of dark horses in a short tournament such as this, and Sweden has to be considered as one.
They qualified for the tournament as the best second-placed team in all the groups and have every chance of finishing atop Group D. The Swedes would definitely prove a tough out in the knockout round.
The Swedes have a very solid outfit throughout, and if the midfield and defense can hold their own, a bit of magic from Zlatan Ibrahimovic could see them pick up a surprise win or two.
Bookmakers William Hill have given Sweden 66/1 odds to be winners of the tournament.
World and European Rankings
Sweden is ranked 12th in Europe and 17th in the world as of the latest FIFA rankings.
Record Since 2010 World Cup
Sweden's qualifying campaign for Euro 2012 saw them win eight games and lose two.
Overall the team has 14 wins, four draws and four losses since the 2010 World Cup.
That is a pretty good record coming into this competition, and they will be looking to add two more wins in their friendlies against Iceland and Serbia.