Sweden

FIFA ranking: 23

How they qualified: Beat Italy 1-0 on aggregate in the UEFA play-off

World Cup appearances: 11

Best result: Runners-up (1958)

Background

Sweden will be making their first World Cup appearance since 2006 and their 12th in total. The Blue and Yellow caused a huge shock by making it to the 2018 World Cup at the expense of 4-time winners Italy who they defeated 1-0 on aggregate in the European play-off after finishing second in group A behind France.

The Coach

Janne Andersson

Andersson is a vastly experienced coach who rose to prominence by leading IFK Norrkoping to a surprise Allsvenskan title win in 2015. After taking charge of the national team in the wake of Euro 2016, he rejuvenated the side and led them to a famous World Cup play-off win over Italy.

Star Man

Marcus Berg

Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images Sport

Thriving in the spotlight following the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Berg has provided power, panache and plenty of goals for Janne Andersson’s Sweden. The Al Ain striker scored eight times during the Russia 2018 qualifiers.

Starting XI

World Cup Chances

In group F with Brazil, Mexico and South Korea, the second spot is all but ready to be contested by Mexico, Sweden and South Korea. While Sweden have not been present at the last two World Cup tournaments, they have reached the knockout stages in their previous three. While they may not have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who decided to retire from international football in 2016, they still have enough quality, as their 2-1 win over France in the qualifiers and 1-0 aggregate victory over Italy in the play-off showed.

Transfer Watch

Emil Forsberg

Octavio Passos/Getty Images Sport

While Forsberg had his breakthrough season at Leipzig in 2016-17 and was linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe, the 26-year-old is still at the Bundesliga club. However, rumours suggest that Arsenal could launch a summer bid for the £35million-rated RB Leipzig player. That is according to German outlet Bild, who reckon the Gunners have a good chance of snaring Forsberg away from the Bundesliga. AC Milan failed in a swoop last summer and Arsenal are unlikely to be the player’s only suitors in the transfer window.