Women’s Euro 2022 team guide No 11: Sweden | Sweden women’s football team

This article is part of the Guardian’s Women’s Euro 2022 Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organizations from the 16 countries that have qualified. theguardian.com is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 6 July.

Overview

“It’s never been this tough,” said the Sweden coach, Peter Gerhardsson, before he announced his squad. “Since myself and Magnus [Wikman, the assistant coach] took over in 2017, the competition for places has not been at this level. And I am not just talking about the starting XI – this is for the whole squad. It will be tough for some of the girls who won’t make it.”

The strength in depth is one of the reasons Sweden goes into the tournament with high hopes. Qualifying for the Euros was never a problem. Having been put in Group F with Iceland, Slovakia, Hungary and Latvia, they racked up some big wins on the way – although they did drop two points against Iceland, after a 1-1 draw in Reykjavik. “You never know until the end of qualifying how important one point will be,” Gerhardsson said afterwards. “Maybe this one will be the crucial one.”

As it was Sweden won the home fixture against Iceland 2-0 to book their place and group opponents Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland will have to be alert to the team’s strength on set pieces. Five defenders contributed 10 out of Sweden’s 40 goals in qualifying, many of them coming from dead-ball situations. As a comparison, the top scorer for the Swedes was the forward Anna Anvegård, who got five, and did not make the squad.

Gerhardsson is not afraid to change his formation but it is likely to be either 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 – although he did go for 5-3-2 in a recent World Cup qualifier against Ireland. The spine of the squad has been together for a long time now – players such as Hedvig Lindahl, Magdalena Eriksson, Caroline Seger and Kosovare Asllani – and after the heartbreak in the Olympic final last year, when they lost on penalties to Canada, they will want to go all the way this time.