FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Sweden hit their peak at the World Cup back in the 1950s where they finished third in Brazil before getting to the final eight years later as hosts in 1958. Brazil were key in ending their hopes of triumphing at both tournaments and it was the case again in 1994 when they also finished third, losing to A Seleção in the semi-finals. Having reached the Round of 16 in 2002 and 2006 they have missed out narrowly on the last two tournaments, most recently losing in the European play-offs to Portugal.

The team
Built around the enigmatic talent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it remains to be seen if the talismanic captain will lead Sweden's charge on Russia 2018, having hinted at retirement plans. As it stands, he makes up one third of a trio of cap centurions alongside Andreas Isaksson and Kim Kallstrom in an experienced side. The likes of Pontus Wernbloom and Sebastian Larsson bring creativity and dangerous set-pieces to the midfield.

The coach
Working his way up the coaching ladder since the age of 30, Erik Hamren won league titles in Denmark and Norway (twice) in the three years before taking the reins in 2010. He also took the side to UEFA EURO 2012, where a spirited display was not enough to see them escape the group stages.

The stat
73 –
Prior to the 2018 qualifiers, only three teams – Mexico, Netherlands and Costa Rica – have more qualifying wins than Sweden's 73.

The former stars
Henrik Larsson, Thomas Ravelli, Anders Svensson, Sven Rydell, Gunnar Nordahl, Bjorn Nordqvist, Nils Liedholm