The Sweden women's national team are one of the heavyweights of the game and have qualified for every Olympic Football Tournament to date. Although the Swedes have yet to win an Olympic medal, they have always turned in creditable performances at the FIFA Women's World Cup™. The Scandinavians’ best finish came in 2003, when they fell 2-1 to a German golden goal in a thrilling final in USA. Tre kronor made it to the last four at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, but they were eliminated in the quarter-finals in Beijing four years later. That, however, was better than group stage exits at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.
Sweden booked their place at London 2012 with a magnificent run at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 in Germany. The team, coached by Thomas Dennerby, benefited from the host nation's quarter-final exit to Japan, removing a potential competitor for a place in London. In the last eight, the Swedes overcame Australia 3-1 and matched their achievement from 1991 and 2003 by claiming a semi-final berth. The Scandinavians then lost to eventual world champions Japan, but picked themselves up to win the third-place play-off 2-1 against fellow London 2012 qualifiers France. At this year's Algarve Cup, Dennerby's side took fourth place.
The Swedes’ commendable performance at the most recent FIFA Women's World Cup indicates they will remain a force to be reckoned with. With the London showdown on the horizon, they have rediscovered their old strengths. “Our national team has always been good,” remarked full-back Sara Thunebro, “but we had a few years in which genuinely excellent players retired from the team, and we had to bring in new players. They've come on very, very well now and we sense we’re extremely strong again. Moreover, I believe we’ll have an even better team in two or three years.”
Facts and figures
Pia Sundhage (1996), Malin Andersson (1996), Malin Mostroem (2000), Jane Tornqvist (2004), Hanna Ljungberg (2008)
Hedvig Lindahl (goalkeeper), Caroline Seger (midfielder), Lotta Schelin (attacker)
By reaching the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 semi-finals, Sweden, along with France, claimed one of the two European berths available.
The numbers game
100 - At this year's Algarve Cup, Lotta Schelin earned her 100th cap in a group stage meeting with China PR.