The Reuters global sports blog
As Spain’s victorious Euro 2012 male side returned to Madrid with the Henri Delaunay trophy, football administrators in Sweden were already working to make Euro 2013 for women a similar success.
“Euro 2013 is the second-biggest event UEFA are planning next year, after the Champions League final for men,” former Sweden international Viktoria Svensson told Reuters in an interview.
Having hung up her boots in 2009, former forward Svensson is now responsible for public relations and team service at the upcoming championship, which will kick off in Sweden on July 10 next year.
With Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine having been followed by millions of fans in stadiums and on television, Svensson is aware of the challenges faced by the women’s game.
Former Sweden defender Glenn Hysen is at Euro 2012 as a fan and he told Left Field that his nation will have to “show some balls” if they are to match England’s fighting spirit in their Group D clash in Kiev on Friday.
“It’ll be tough, but if the players show that they have balls we can do it,” said Hysen, whose son Tobias is part of Erik Hamren’s Sweden squad.
Sweden defender Mikael Lustig will have no excuse for forgetting to hold his position against England in Euro 2012 - his mistake on the post for Ukraine’s second goal in Kiev has sparked a tactical Twitter meme that will take a long time to live down.
With the scores level at 1-1, Ukraine won a corner and Lustig took his place on the goal-line defending the near post.
That man is Sweden coach Erik Hamren.
With Euro 2012 approaching fast, Hamren will be quietly pleased that top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be involved in the final in Munich on May 19 and can instead avoid injury and stay fresh.
It’s taken a long time, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has finally delivered a performance worthy of his talent against an English team in the Champions League.
Long scoffed at by British fans and journalists for his pale imitation of a top-class striker in Europe’s top competition, Zlatan delivered something of a virtuoso performance as Milan thrashed Arsenal 4-0 at the San Siro, rendering the last 16 return leg in London next month all but meaningless.
Under normal circumstances Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s dipping first-half free kick in AC Milan’s 3-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday would have been enough to give Sweden coach Erik Hamren a pleasant end to the weekend.
But if Hamren had been watching Feyenoord beat Ajax in in Holland’s Eredivisie on Saturday he would have seen another Swede, John Guidetti, net a hat-trick as Feyenoord won 4-2, giving him a mouthwatering selection problem ahead of Euro 2012.
Sweden’s soccer year officially came to an end last week with Wednesday’s traditional press conference and Christmas lunch at the football association’s Rasunda headquarters.
The normally sedate affair was given extra spice by Alexander Gerndt’s conviction the previous day for domestic violence and the FA’s reaction to it.
For many football fans, the post-Christmas blues will be banished by the prospect of their club buying big when the transfer window opens in January.
But the out-of-contract players taking part in the FIFPro Winter Tournament in Oslo are hoping to get their futures sorted out before the window opens again.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
Sweden’s 3-2 victory over the Netherlands to qualify for Euro 2012 may have surprised many observers, but Swedish footballers have a long history of success against Dutch opposition.
The home of "Total Football" has for many years been something of a finishing school for Swedish footballers, and five of the players in the victorious Sweden squad play their club football in the Netherlands.
from Olympics Notebook: Vancouver 2010:
We're running a live blog on the mouth-watering line up of hockey on Sunday, featuring Russia v Czech Republic in Group B, Canada v United States in Group A and Sweden v Finland in Group C.
We'll be talking hockey all day so please feel free to dip in. The fun starts Sunday. Early.