Sweden copied Iceland’s Euro 2016 run with World Cup quarter-finals berth
If Iceland was the team to reckon at Euro 2016, Sweden is the team desperate to copy their success at FIFA World Cup 2018. They defeated Switzerland 1-0 to make out to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face either Colombia or England, depending on Colombia vs England result later tonight.
It’s not only their moment today which defines their success. Its date goes back to World Cup qualifications which started after Euro 2016. They must have studied Iceland’s success at Euro that how can a team without stars go that further in an international tournament.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has ruled the Swedish football in last one and half decade. International football fans think that Sweden is known because of him, but that’s a mistaken view. Sweden were finalist at 1958 World Cup, where Pele risen on the occasion to break Sweden’s heart.
#SWESUI #SWE You don’t need stars, you need an organization and little bit of luck on your way forward. congratulations to @swedense for reaching the quarter-final. i hope they can rejoice their old ones some memories of 1958.
— footballinall (@footballinall) July 3, 2018
Blagult finished third in 1950 and 1994 as well. So, we can say that it’s Zlatan who kept him away from international success unluckily as it might be the case with Argentina’s Lionel Messi. Both stars were desperate to win something for their national team, but it just wasn’t there.
After Zlatan retired from international football, Sweden became more of an organized team with lesser stars on their team sheet. Janne Andersson has led the team very beautiful handling the pressure to reach at this stage overcoming some of the very best challenges.
Sweden were drawn in Group A of European qualification alongside France, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Belarus, and Luxembourg. They finished second on points table eliminating Netherlands on point table with goal difference with six win, one draw, and three losses. It was their first hurdle and they were lucky to get past that.
They played a play-off against Italy during second round of qualification. The Blue & Yellow registered a 1-0 victory at home and played 0-0 draw away at San Siro in Italy to book a place in World Cup finals with 1-0 on aggregate victory. It was a real motivation for the Swedes as they have eliminated four-time World Champion.
Blagult have a great start at World Cup as well. They started with 1-0 victory against South Korea, almost gave a nightmare to defending champion Germany before losing out 2-1 in last second in their second group. They run a riot on Mexico to win 3-0 to win the group.
However, Switzerland were still favourite to go further from their round 16 tie against Sweden. But, they forget that Swedish have brought good luck along with them. They were beaten by an own goal when Emil Forsberg’s strike hit Manuel Akanji and diverted ball goes into the top left corner. Switzerland’s goalkeeper Yann Sommer would have easily collected the Forsberg shot in his safe pair of hands, but almighty has different plans.
Swiss had their chances but probably not good enough to take them to the last eight. FIFA’s world ranked 6th team also left the World Cup 2018 early as it was with Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Argentina.
Sweden deserved to go further and they pulled it off. Whether it’s similar to Iceland’s success at Euro or not, they have covered the similar ground. They are into quarterfinals of FIFA World Cup 2018, and we can’t rule out their chances against the winner of Colombia vs England game.
I can see them writing another chapter in Swedish football. We hope they have few of their older generation out there alive to rejoice their memory of 1958. Sweden has a great run as host in 1958 as they reached final. It was only the emergence of football’s greatest player on earth – Pele arrival took the World Cup glory away from them.