Lagerbäck names Swedish World Cup squad

Sweden's World Cup squad was revealed by manager Lars Lagerbäck at a press conference on Tuesday evening. There were two debutantes among the familiar names, and inevitably a few disappointments.

“It was rather easy to name 15-16 players. Then it’s always very equal,” said Lagerbäck, speaking at Millesgården in Stockholm.

Fredrikstad goalkeeper Rami Shaaban and Bayer Leverkusen defender Fredrik Stenman are in the national squad for the first time, while another surprise was the 22 year old centre back, Karl Svensson.

Svensson, who plays for IFK Göteborg, has only appeared once for Sweden at the senior level. Nevertheless, he flew to Stockholm to be at the press conference.

“I am very surprised. It’s every football player’s dream to play in the world cup. If someone had told me six months ago that I would be involved I would have laughed at them,” he said.

Svensson is the youngest defender in the squad and only made his debut last year. But Lagerbäck said he sees in Svensson a future stalwart in the team:

“He has established himself in the Under-21 team. Now he’s mature enough to step up.”

The Swedish manager admitted that the midfield and attack for the tournament in Germany practically picked itself.

“This time we’ve spent most time thinking about the goalkeepers and the back line,” he said.

The inclusion of Rami Shaaban as the third choice keeper surprised commentators, who noted that despite a spell with Arsenal in England, he has no experience at junior or senior level in the national team.

“Rami has shown that he can perform in both the Premier League and the Champions League. That’s perhaps the hardest there is after the national team. He’s had problems since a broken leg but has made a good comeback in Norway,” said Lagerbäck.

Defender Fredrik Stenman has more experience at international level than Shaaban and Svensson – but only marginally. He was in a Swedish squad which toured Hong Kong in 2004, but only played a friendly match against a team selected from the local league.

“Fredrik has established himself in Germany very well. He is a spirited full back who likes to get forward, which is exactly what we need,” commented Lagerbäck.

Two players who were part of the Swedish set-up throughout the qualifying campaign, Alexander Östlund and Eddie Gustafsson, will be watching their team mates on television this summer.

“It feels harsh, extra harsh considering that it’s two who have been involved throughout the journey. But we think we have better options here. Eddie hasn’t played a competitive match for a long while, even if we think he’s a really good goalkeeper.”

Lagerbäck said that Mikael Nilsson and Niclas Alexandersson are better alternatives to Östlund.

“Partly because of how we play, partly because of our opposition,” he explained.

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The full squad


Andreas Isaksson, Rennes

John Alvbåge, Viborg

Rami Shaaban, Fredrikstad


Erik Edman, Rennes

Petter Hansson, Heerenveen

Teddy Lucic, Häcken

Olof Mellberg, Aston Villa

Mikael Nilsson, Panathinaikos

Fredrik Stenman, Bayer Leverkusen

Karl Svensson, IFK Göteborg


Niclas Alexandersson, IFK Göteborg

Marcus Allbäck, Köpenhamn

Daniel Andersson, Malmö FF

Johan Elmander, Bröndby

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Juventus

Mattias Jonsson, Djurgården

Kim Källström, Rennes

Henrik Larsson, Barcelona

Tobias Linderoth, Köpenhamn

Fredrik Ljungberg, Arsenal

Markus Rosenberg, Ajax

Anders Svensson, Elfsborg

Christian Wilhelmsson, Anderlecht

Reserve squad members

Bengt Andersson, IFK Göteborg

Christoffer Andersson, Lilleström

Kennedy Bakircioglü, Twente

Fredrik Berglund, Esbjerg

Mikael Dorsin, Rosenborg

Tobias Hysén, Djurgården

Daniel Majstorovic, Basel

Max von Schlebrügge, Hammarby

Alexander Östlund, Southampton

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Swedish press hails ‘miracle in Berlin’

Sweden's stunning four-goal comeback to salvage a 4-4 draw against Germany in Berlin on Tuesday night prompted commentators to gush over what many considered an improbable footballing "miracle".

Swedish press hails 'miracle in Berlin'

After an hour of football, Sweden found themselves nursing a four-goal deficit and many fans wondered how bad the night would end.

But a beautiful goal off a header by captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 62nd minute sparked an unprecedented comeback for the Swedes, capped by Rasmus Elm’s game-tying goal in extra time, allowing the squad to leave the pitch with an unexpected draw against a team ranked second in the world.

“I’ve never watched a national team that was so totally outplayed then comeback and salvage a point,” crowed Expressen columnist Marcus Birro.

“A miracle. A total Miracle. With a capital M.”

Birro argued that Sweden’s footballers deserved “the Nobel Prize in everything”, before reflecting on whether Tuesday’s performance might prompt largely secular Swedes to reexamine their religious beliefs.

“According to several studies, Swedes don’t believe in God. How is that possible? Can anyone who saw the miracle in Berlin seriously claim that God doesn’t exist?” he asked

Johan Esk, sports columnist at broadsheet Dagens Nyheter (DN), spared no hyperbole in claiming the 4-4 draw was “Sweden’s biggest upset in footballing history”.

“Sweden created a bomb that will be heard throughout the footballing world,” he continued.

“Sweden went from being outplayed, outclassed, laughable bystanders to shocking heroes.”

According to Esk, Sweden “taught Germany and the entire footballing world that it doesn’t matter what the score is or what name is on the back of the opponents’ shirts”.

“Those who give up never have a chance. Those who never give up always have a chance to succeed. No matter how awful things look,” he wrote.

A jubilant Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, captured on film in the stands pumping his fists in a fit of football euphoria while a dejected German Chancellor Angela Merkel looked on, also praised the performance of Sweden’s national side.

“It was totally improbable,” he told the TT news agency following the match.

“I don’t know if Germany has ever lost a four goal lead before in one half at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.”

Meanwhile, Erik Niva, football columnist with tabloid Aftonbladet took aim at German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s collapse, which saw the normally solid performer let in four goals in thirty minutes.

“On a normal day at work, Manuel Neuer exudes self-confidence. Now he couldn’t catch a beachball,” wrote Niva.

He hailed Sweden’s performance as “one of the most improbably I’ve experienced in my life with Swedish football”.

The press in Germany also lambasted their national team’s performance, with Der Spiegel kicking off the criticism with the headline “60 minutes of heaven, 30 minutes of hell.”


Columnist Mats Olsson from Expressen proclaimed the away draw against Germany was in a class by itself when it came to sporting “miracles”.

“For 45 minutes the Swedish national team looked like hedgehogs that had been paralyzed by a car’s headlights,” he said.

“I’ve never seen a sicker, more wild and wonderful match.”

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