Sweden approached this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament with romantic optimism. Placed in the” Group of Death” with Italy, Belgium and the Republic Of Ireland, things looked bleak.
Only the most romantic of Swedish football fans could have expected Sweden to progress from the group stages. The Swedish coach Erik Hamrén had already announced he would step down after the tournament. Sweden’s star players were sadly lacking. Kim Källström played poorly, and looked much older than 33. And King Zlatan Ibrahimović left his scoring boots at home. Both stars have announced their international retirement.
For Sweden to do well in the tournament some key aspects were needed. The old stars needed to bring their A-games, the kids from the U21’s needed to step up a gear, and the coach needed to show some tactical noose, sadly none of these happened. Sweden scraped a draw against an unlucky Republic of Ireland side. And humble 1-0 losses to strong sides Italy and Belgium spelled the end for Sweden.
A dose of reality was all Sweden earned from 2016.