Route to Russia:
Sweden have Luxembourg to thank for their place in Russia this year. The minnows ranked 85th in the world shipped eight goals against the Swedes in the penultimate qualification match. Coincidently, Sweden progressed to the second-round play-offs on goal difference ahead of the Netherlands by, you guessed it, eight goals.
The work was still not done there however as they still had to overcome Italy in the play-offs. After defeating the Italians 1-0 on home soil, the Swedes went to Milan where they held Italy to a 0-0 draw in a nerve-racking encounter. The result meant that four-time winners Italy would not be at the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
How far can they get:
Reaching the round of 16 will be difficult, the Swedes have been drawn alongside Germany, Mexico and South Korea in Group F. Regardless of whether they progress from the group stage or not, Sweden can be proud of their achievements in the qualification round after seeing off two-time finalists Netherlands and four-time winners Italy.
The man who lead Sweden to their first World Cup since 2006 is Janne Andersson. The 55-year-old became manager of the Sweden national team in 2016 following spells at IFK Norrköping, Örgryte, IS Halmstads and BK Laholms FK in his native homeland. Since his appointment, he has won nine of his 20 matches in charge, drawing five and losing six.
One to Watch:
Captain Andreas Granqvist. The 6’ 4” tall centre-back plays with his heart on his sleeve. He is strong in a tackle, good in the air and is willing to put on his body on the line. The 33-year-old is the oldest Swedish player at the tournament and the second most capped. His experience and bravery will be key should the Swedes perform well in Russia.