Despite having a senior team to be reckoned with and boasting a strong domestic league, Sweden have, curiously, never qualified for a previous edition of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Sweden made a grand impression at the UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship last year. Inspired by the elegant, intelligent Emilia Appelquist, who usually plays in front of the defence, and Sofia Jakobsson, a direct, prolific striker who finished as the tournament’s leading scorer, they recorded three successive come-from-behind wins to reach the final, before falling victim to England.
Calle Barrling’s team are not among the leading contenders for gold in Germany, but a Swedish conquest is not inconceivable. They’ve improved greatly in recent years, as their runners-up finish in Belarus proved.
Facts and figures
Emilia Appelquist (midfielder), Sofia Jakobsson (striker)
Sweden qualified for this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup by reaching the last four at the UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship in Belarus last year. Thereafter, the Blågult beat France 5-2 to reach the final, which they lost 2-0 to England.
The numbers game
4 - the number of minutes Sweden were from missing out on a place in the Belarus 2009 final. However, Jakobsson’s 86th-minute strike took the game intro extra time, and another three unanswered goals earned Calle Barrling’s team a 5-2 win over France.