Sweden are one of the top sides in women's football and have qualified for every FIFA Women's World Cup™ so far. Their greatest success was at USA 2003, where they finished runners-up after falling 2-1 to a German Golden Goal in a thrilling final. In 2005, head coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors stepped down in favour of current coach Thomas Dennerby.
At the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007, Dennerby put his faith in the experienced players who came so agonisingly close in 2003. However, the likes of Hanna Ljungberg and Victoria Svensson were unable to prevent Sweden from elimination at the group stage. A new group of players will be asked to state their credentials at Germany 2011. “It's true that we now have a new generation," Dennerby stated to FIFA.com. "When talking about Swedish women’s football, a lot of people still immediately think of players like Victoria Svensson and Hanna Ljungberg. Then they think of the Women’s World Cup 2003 in the USA, when we were narrowly defeated by Germany in the final. But now it’s time for a new generation. We have a lot of players with superb qualities.”
The road to Germany
In European qualifying Group 8, the Swedes never looked in danger of missing their target. Thomas Dennerby's ensemble outpaced their competitors from the Czech Republic, Belgium, Wales and Azerbaijan, ending up top of the table.
Their play-off was an all-Scandinavian clash with Denmark. Goals from Linda Forsberg and Lotta Schelin saw Sweden win the first leg 2-1. The return leg was a tense affair and went to extra time, but Charlotte Rohlin's goals (73rd and 94th minutes) eventually secured a 4-3 aggregate victory.
The star players
The most experienced players in the Sweden team are Therese Sjogran (LdB FC Malmo), goalkeeper Rut Hedvig Lindahl (Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC) and Sara Larsson (Philadelphia Independence), who were already members of the squad at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007. Among the players to watch are team captain Caroline Seger (Philadelphia Independence), Charlotte Rohlin (Linkopings FC) and Lotta Schelin (Lyon).
Thomas Dennerby replaced long-serving coach Marika Domanski-Lyfors after the UEFA Women’s EURO 2005 in England. From the start, Sweden's Coach of the Year for 2004 pursued a policy of continuity, seeking to build on the strong foundation left by his predecessor. Nowadays, Domanski-Lyfors sits on the SvFF (Swedish Football Association) football committee, and also undertakes various duties for FIFA.
As a player, the 51-year-old Dennerby turned out for Hammarby IF and Sparvagens FF. He also played for the Swedish U-21, U-19 and U-17 national teams. His greatest success as a coach was with Djurgarden/Alvsjo, who he led to the Swedish title twice and the Swedish Cup once.
Previous FIFA Women’s World Cups
17 – Some big scores were recorded in the qualifying phase for Germany 2011 but Sweden enjoyed the biggest, beating Azerbaijan 17-0 in a match with 8 different goalscorers.
What they said
“After a few difficult years in Swedish football, I hope we're back on the right track. At major tournaments like European Championships, World Cups and even the Olympic Games, you have to be playing at your very peak to stand any chance of winning the title. I think we can look back on this as our best year in a long time. I actually believe my squad is the best national team we've ever had," Sweden national coach Thomas Dennerby.