Sweden squad for Women’s Euro 2022: player profiles - Bennison, Seger...
One of favorites for this Euro 2022, Sweden brings a squad full of veterans and budding stars in their quest to win their second title.
As part of the Guardian’s Women’s Euro 2022 Experts’ Network, a collaboration between media outlets from 16 countries, AS is offering in-depth profiles of the players in all 16 squads at the tournament, which runs from 6 to 31 July. This lowdown on the Sweden team is written by Amanda Zaza from fotbollskanalen.se.
Date of Birth: 29 April 1983 (39)
Club: Atlético Madrid
Profile: A legend within the Swedish game, she got her first pair of football boots at the age of four, custom made to fit her small feet. Always had the desire to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world – and she managed it. She is the most capped goalkeeper in Swedish history - male or female - and she has a World Cup silver medal (from back in 2003!) and two runner-up places in the Olympics. Her club career has taken her from Sweden to top teams England (Chelsea), Germany (Wolfsburg) and now Spain (Atlético Madrid). Lindahl is not afraid to speak out against social injustice on her platforms and recently put up one of her jerseys on auction with the proceeds going to victims of a school bombing in Afghanistan.
Date of Birth: 26 May 1996 (25)
Profile: The only one of four children in her family to be born in Sweden. Her family come from the Serbian town Prijepolje, near the border with Bosnia, but fled to Sweden before she was born to avoid the Bosnian war. Musovic grew up in Sweden and wanted to focus on table tennis before falling in love with football. She started as an outfield player but made her senior debut at the age of 13 for Stattena IF. Signed her first professional contract with FC Rosengård back in 2015 – there she played with Amanda Ilestedt whom she happens to share an Instagram account with called “vardagmedoss”, where they share behind the scenes footage when they are together. Happy to try anything, from making sourdough bread to painting, she is not afraid to comment on issues such as the war in Ukraine and equal pay on social media.
Date of Birth: 26 April (29)
Club: BK Häcken
Profile: The Swedish international goalkeeper grew up in the Gothenburg area and has played for teams around the city for most of her career. International teammate Olivia Schough described Falk as someone who is very good at making “Gothenburg jokes” in an interview with SVT Sport, saying: “She is a world champion when it comes to Gothenburg jokes! Sometimes she can even make me smile a little.” High praise indeed. Apart from that and being very good at football, she is good at DIY and has renovated a whole house with her girlfriend for the past 18 months.
Date of Birth: 2 January 1993 (29)
Position: Left back
Profile: The defender grew up in Mjölby, a small town with a population of a little over 10,000. The left back has said that she never dreamed of being a professional footballer, “I think that’s because I never dared or let myself think about being a professional”, she said in an interview with Vavel. But she continued to develop and, having joined Swedish giants Linköping in 2009, has never looked back. She won three league and two cups with them and, having turned down Chelsea twice, she finally joined Emma Hayes side in 2018. There she has picked up another four league titles. Will leave west London in the summer and has agreed to join Stockholm side Hammarby.
Date of Birth: 8 September 1993 (28)
Position: Centre back / left back
Profile: The Chelsea captain grew up in Stockholm, where she played for Enskede IK, one of Sweden’s biggest football clubs when it comes to youth teams. She has said “football is the most fun thing I know” and that was clear from an early age. When she grew up she named her two guinea pigs named after the two football legends Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane. She also had a dog named “Freddie” after Swedish international Fredrik Ljungberg. At the World Cup in 2019 a picture of her and her girlfriend, the Danish international Pernille Harder, kissing went viral and overnight Eriksson had gotten over 20, 000 new followers on Instagram. “I knew we were famous, but I never understood how big of an impact we could make until that picture was taken”, she told the Guardian.
Date of Birth: 15 May 1987 (34)
Profile: A veteran of the Swedish team now, with well over a 100 caps since making her debut in 2008. Growing up in Uppsala north of Stockholm she initially wanted to become a figure skater. Inbetween her many successes she has torn her ACL twice - the latest time just before the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year. “It was like a knife stabbing your heart”, she told Footbollskanalen. She has been with Juventus since 2019 and may well stay in Italy next season but has said she is open to a move back to Sweden and Damallsvenskan.
Date of Birth: 17 January 1993 (29)
Position: Central defender
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Profile: Amanda Ilestedt grew up in Sölvesborg in southern Sweden. She comes from an ice hockey family and growing up she played ice hockey and handball before choosing to focus on football at the age of around 12/13. She was part of the Sweden team who finished second at the Tokyo Olympics but, remarkably, she is not the only one with an Olympic medal in her extended family with cousin Oliver Ekman Larsson also winning silver with “Tre Kronor”, at the 2014 Games. He now plays for Vancouver Canucks in the NHL. Ilestedt’s best friend in the national team set-up is Zecira Musovic, with whom she has an Instagram page called “Vardagmedoss”.
Date of Birth: 16 April 1993 (29)
Position: Right back
Club: Bayern Munich
Profile: Glas considers herself the best right back in the world, which is not a typically Swedish thing to say. She would also say that she has the strongest legs out of anyone in the Sweden team. The 29-year-old has fought her way back from three ACL injuries, and after the third one her doctor told her she should quit playing. “My doctor told me I should quit, and of course I started thinking about what I should be doing”, she told Expressen. “But I felt that I had more to give and I wanted to see how far I could get so it was worth the risk [to carry on].” Now playing for Bayern Munich, with whom she won the Bundesliga in her first season (2020-21).
Date of Birth: 25 September 1991 (30)
Position: Centre back / left back
Club: Brighton & Hove Albion
Profile: It has not been a straightforward journey to the top for the Brighton defender but she says “it has made her the player she is”. After a meteoric rise to play for Vittsjö in the Swedish top-flight in 2012 she struggled with performance-related anxiety and orthorexia (an eating disorder) and had to take a step back to deal with the issue. “I don’t think I could’ve made the decision myself. But I think you could see that I wasn’t doing very well,” she has said. She comes from a real football family. Her dad, Stephan Kullberg, played in Allsvenskan and her sister Sanna Kullberg captains Djurgården in Damallsvenskan. In 2019 she started a relationship with Julia Zigiotti Olme after Sofia Jakobsson put them together. “She has gotten a lot of “thank yous” since then,” Kullberg says.
Date of Birth: 7 August 1998 (23)
Position: Left back / Left wing
Profile: The Juventus left-back/winger started her career with the Swedish talent factory Brommapojkarna in the Stockholm area before moving to AIK, a natural step since both her grandfather, Jim, and father, David, played for them. A move to Brighton did not quite work out however. “It was harsher than what I was used to and I had injuries and concussion. I had to be in a dark room in my flat for three months,” she told Aftonbladet. She moved back to Sweden and Eskilstuna for a year and is now thriving at Juventus. Her advice to others in a tough situation? “Stay calm and remain seated in the boat. And keep on fighting. That’s what I did.”
Date of Birth: 19 March (37)
Club: FC Rosengård
Profile: A remarkable player with a remarkable career. At high school Seger was in the same class as Andreas Granqvist. They both later captained Sweden’s national team, Granqvist the men and Seger the women. Seger also happens to be the most capped player of all time in Sweden at 229 at the time of writing. She always seems to have time on the ball and always seems to make the right decisions. Having had a successful club career she is now looking to crown her extraordinary career by winning the Euros, having finished second in the Olympics, missing a decisive penalty in the final against Canada. “I feel like shit,” she wrote on Instagram the day after the final. “It was the day silver could be turned to gold and it all went wrong.”
Date of Birth: 14 July 1997 (24)
Club: Manchester City
Profile: Met another Sweden international, Nathalie Björn, at the age of five and they became best friends. They were playing for Vaksala SK at the time where Angeldal’s dad, Christer, coached them. They went on to win the Swedish youth tournament Gothia Cup as well as the Under-19 Euros in 2015 together. Having played for Sirius, AIK, Hammarby, Linköping and Häcken, she had her international breakthrough at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was the only Swede who started every game. Clubs from around Europe were chasing her and she ended up joining Manchester City in September 2021.
Date of Birth: 16 October 2002 (19)
Profile: She grew up outside of Malmö and is the youngest member of the Sweden squad at the Euros. In 2021 she was crowned the best young female player in the world by the website goal.com. In 2021 when Sweden were preparing to face Australia Bennison left the training camp for her high school graduation, “I value the national team extremely highly but you only graduate once,” she told Aftonbladet. “I think this was the best way.” The national team coach, Peter Gerhardsson, backed the decision. “I hope she has as much fun as I did,” he said.
Date of Birth: 11 May 1993 (28)
Club: BK Häcken
Profile: Had been playing for Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC before the club suddenly folded at the end of 2020. The club was taken over by Häcken and this coincided with Rubensson becoming a mother to Frans, which in turn prompted the Gothenburg club to review their maternity policy. Rubensson’s sister, Cajsa, is 11 years her junior but also plays in Damallsvenskan, for Rosengård. They hope to one day play together. “We said early on that it would be cool to work towards one day playing together in Damallsvenskan at one point,” she told GP. Rubensson scored Häcken’s first ever Champions League goal.
Date of Birth: 4 May 1997 (25)
Position: Centre back / right back / central defensive midfielder
Profile: One of three players who joined Everton from Rosengård in 2021 – Anna Anvegård and Hanna Bennison were the other two – Björn admitted she struggled to understand the local accent to begin with. “It has been tough, I didn’t understand a word they said”, she told SVT. “I was sitting with two Liverpool players every lunch during corona and they suddenly asked me a question and I just said ‘what?’” Has known Filippa Angeldal since they were five years old. “We talked about going on to play for the national team together since we were kids,” she told Aftonbladet.
Date of Birth: 29 July 1989 (32)
Position: Midfielder / forward
Club: Real Madrid
Profile: Now 32, Asllani has had a brilliant career, playing in five different countries (Sweden, United States, France, England and Spain) and has amassed more than 150 caps for Sweden. When CD Tacón became Real Madrid in 2020, Asllani was their first galáctica signing. In 2015 she starred in the childrens book “Pass the ball! Shouts Kosse, written by Anja Gatu. Born in Kristianstad to Kosovar parents, she has a tattoo of a double-headed eagle on her ankle. One of several Swedes in the squad with two Olympic silvers and one World Cup third place.
Date of Birth: 5 September 1995 (26)
Position: Left winger / forward
Profile: Last summer, Lina Hurtig and her wife Lisa became parents for the first time but a month later Hurtig was representing Sweden at the Tokyo Olympics. It was a tough experience, the Juventus forward said, but that FaceTime helped. “I call them when I need to speak to them. If it’s in the middle of the night so be it,” she told Aftonbladet. Quick and with a good football brain, Hurtig won the league with Linköping FC in Sweden before signing for Juventus in 2020. She has won the Serie A in both her seasons in Italy.
Date of Birth: 23 April 1990 (32)
Position: Forward / right winger
Club: San Diego Wave FC
Profile: Now with San Diego Wave FC in the NWSL after ending her three-year contract with Bayern Munich after only six months. “It did not turn out to be exactly what I had hoped for when I signed for Bayern Munich. I did not play as much as I would have liked to,” she told SVT. Has had a nomadic career, including spells in France, Russia (“I did learn a bit of Russian but it is gone now,” she says), Germany, England and Spain. Made her Sweden debut in 2011 and has won more than a 100 caps now. When asked what her hidden talent might be, she said acting.
Date of Birth: 11 March (31)
Position: Left winger
Club: FC Rosengård Profile: An experienced forward who is now with FC Rosengård, her fifth Swedish club. She joined them in 2021 and immediately won the league. In 2015 she opened up on losing her mum to cancer six years previously and revealed that she too is carrying the same gene. “They have recommended I remove my breasts and my uterus but I am not going to do something that drastic now,” she told Eskilstuna-Kuriren. She has regular check-ups and is a proud ambassador of Cancerfonden, a Swedish organisation providing financial support to, primarily, research “to beat cancer”.
Date of Birth: 5 February (26)
Position: Striker / forward
Profile: She scores for Arsenal, and she scores for Sweden. But, remarkably, without McDonald’s help, Blackstenius may not have been a footballer. One of her early coaches admitted taking her to McDonald’s so she would join the district team. “We had to bribe her because she never understood how good she was, so we did it as a fun thing,” the coach told GP. But she could also have played handball. Growing up she played both football and handball but chose the former whereas her sister, Nina Koppang, went the other way and has represented Sweden in handball.
Date of Birth: 24 November 1993 (28)
Position: Forward / right winger / left winger
Club: FC Barcelona
Profile: Two years ago, Rolfö scored the goal for Wolfsburg that eliminated Barcelona from the Champions League. This season she was part of a triumphant team who beat their German rivals 5-0 in front of a record crowd. “It really was fantastic,” she told the Swedish news agency TT. “It is magical when you hear the fans singing and shouting the whole game. It gives so much energy, it was something I had never experienced before.” According to Hanna Glas, Rolfö is the most stylish player in the squad. “She is a little different and she can wear clothes that stand out sometimes”, she told Aftonbladet. And if you ask Sofia Jakobsson Rolfö is the player in the national team with the hardest shot. Growing up she dreamed of playing on the biggest stage and was inspired to play football by her sisters.
Johanna Rytting Kaneryd
Date of Birth: 12 February 1997 (25)
Position: Right winger
Club: BK Häcken
Profile: The 25-year-old winger just missed out on the Olympics – and admitted she was gutted when she heard – but she has responded magnificently to become an important player for Sweden. In 2020 she joined champions Kopparbergs/ Göteborg FC only for the club to fold a week later. They then became Häcken. “It felt very weird and it was a couple of tough days but as soon as the solution with Häcken came about I had a good feeling”, she told Stadium.se. Häcken finished second in the league in 2021.
Date of Birth: 24 July (1997)
Position: Forward / striker
Profile: “Rössö” is the name of her first club – and now also the nickname of the Wolfsburg forward, given to her by her former teammate Lisa Ek. In 2019, at the age of 22, her life was put on hold as the doctors had found a cyst on one of her ovaries. After surgery and tests she was told that it was cancer. “Every third person gets cancer but for some reason I didn’t think it would happen to me,” she told Bohuslänningen. “Suddenly life is all there is. You can’t explain it. The most difficult thing is not knowing. It is the disease that decides.” She returned within a year and tests have been clear since then.