Watch Sweden Live At Euro 2008
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Lars Lagerback can consider himself to be a successful man. He has taken Sweden to every major championship between 2000 and 2008- three European Championships and two football World Cups. No Swedish team coach has been able to do this in the past, and with the somewhat limited talent base that the Scandinavian nation has, Lagerback deserves a pat on the back for what he has achieved. This summer, Sweden will aim to progress beyond the group stage at Euro 2008. Greece, Spain and Russia are the hurdles in their path. Greece are ranked way higher than Sweden in the FIFA rankings, and Russia qualified for Euro 2008 ahead of England. It will be interesting to see what gameplan Lagerback has in mind, and what better way to find out than to watch Sweden live at Euro 2008? If live coverage is not available to you, consider signing up for our European package, which costs just £9.99. Signing up for this package also entitles you to watch live football from the Premiership, La Liga, Eredivisie and other major leagues where Swedish players ply their trade.
Sweden did extremely well in qualifying, finishing a close two points behind Spain. They also scored the same number of goals as the Spanish, and let in just one goal more than them. The group was tightly contested, with Northern Ireland putting pressure on Sweden right till the end. A win for the Swedes in their last game against Latvia, dashed Northern Ireland's qualifying hopes. And the group games were not without drama. In the very first European qualifying fixture between Sweden and neighbours Denmark, a fan assaulted referee Herbert Fandel after he had given Sweden a late penalty. The game which was tied at 3-3 at that point, was abandoned, and UEFA awarded Sweden the match 3-0. Reportedly, it was the first time that a European qualifier was abandoned due to spectator interference.
Sweden are placed in Group D at Euro 2008, along with defending champions Greece, Spain and Russia.
List of Sweden's fixtures at Euro 2008
June 10- Sweden vs Greece in Salzburg ( 20.45)
June 14- Sweden vs Spain in Innsbruck ( 18.00)
June 18- Sweden vs Russia in Innsbruck ( 20.45)
All timings in CEST ( Central European Summer Time)
Sweden made their first European Football Championship appearance in 1992, when they qualified automatically as hosts. Jan Eriksson scored in the opening 1-1 draw against France, and Tomas Brolin scored the sole goal of the game against Denmark. In the final group game, against England, both Eriksson and Brolin found themselves on the scoresheet as Sweden won 2-1 and thus topped Group A. In the semifinal against Germany in Solna, Thomas Häßler and Karlheinz Riedle gave Germany a 2-0 lead, before Brolin's penalty made it 2-1. Riedle's 88th minute strike put Germany 3-1 up, and Kenneth Anderson's next minute goal ended up being nothing more than a consolation for the Swedes.
Sweden's disastrous Euro 1996 qualification campaign meant that they would have to be mere spectators for the main tournament. However they put up a much better show in qualification for Euro 2000, comfortably topping a group that also consisted of England, Poland and Bulgaria. Sadly for Sweden, a 0-0 draw against Turkey was all they had to show for their efforts as they went down to Belgium and Italy.
Sweden qualified for Euro 2004 as winners of Group 4, and were placed in Group C along with Denmark, Italy and Bulgaria. They blanked Bulgaria 5-0 in their opening game, before drawing 1-1 with Italy and 2-2 with Sweden. Denmark, Italy and Sweden all ended up with five points, but the Swedes won the group on goal difference. They faced Netherlands in the next round, and penalties were required to determine the winner. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Philip Cocu both missing their spot kicks, both teams were tied at 4-4 after five penalties. In sudden death, Arjen Robben scored for the Dutch, but defender Olof Mellberg failed to put away his, and the Dutch won 5-4 on penalties.
Lagerback has shown that he prefers experience to youth. And with the Swedish domestic league not really on par with Spain, Italy or England's, it is unlikely that talented youngsters like Sebastian Rajalakso will break into the first team for this tournament. First choice left back Erik Edman is out of this tournament after suffering an injury while playing for Wigan. His position is likely to go to Mikael Nilsson. Manchester City's Andreas Isaksson will stand between the sticks, with Rami Shaaban as backup. Freddie Ljungberg is a doubt after fracturing his rib in West Ham's Premiership, game against Newcastle. If Ljungberg is fit, the former Arsenal man will occupy one flank, with Christian Wilhelmsson on the other. Henrik Larsson has made a surprise comeback from retirement, and is likely to partner Ibrahimovic upfront. The other choices for Larsson's role are Marcus Allback, Johan Elmander and Werder Bremen's Markus Rosenberg.The midfield duo of Anders Svensson and Kim Kallstrom have figured in most of Sweden's recent matches, with the hardworking Tobias Linderoth unable to play because of injuries.
Sweden are acquainted with playing Spain, as the Spanish were in their qualification group. Greece and Russia will prove tough nuts to crack. Can Lagerback guide his boys into the knockout stages? Watch live football with us to find out the answer.
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