|Highest FIFA ranking||2 (1952)|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||13 (1938)|
| Norway 8–0 Sweden|
(London, Great Britain; 20 October 1908)
|FIFA World Cup|
|Appearances||8 (First in 1910)|
|Best result||Champions (1950)|
The Sweden national football team represents Sweden is international association football. It is controlled by the Svenska Fotbollförbundet.
The Swedish national football team first match was up against Norway in the first round of the 1908 Summer Olympics. In a disappointing match, they would lose 8-0 to be bundled out in the first round. The next major tournament for the team was the 1910 FIFA World Cup held in Austria and much like the Olympics, they would be knocked out in the opening round, this time it was to the Netherlands by a score of 3-1. Karl Gustafsson scoring the first goal for Sweden in an international tournament.
After recording their first victory in international football at the Nordic Football Championship they would take out their first title in the 1912 edition of the Nordic Football Championship when they defeated Finland and Norway by six goals. This form wouldn't carry into the Olympic competition when they lost 4-0 in the first round by the Russian Empire. The 1914 FIFA World Cup which was held in England, would end up as a disaster for the nation as they could only muster up a victory against Chile on the final matchday of competition to not finish bottom of the group after losing their opening two games against England and Switzerland.
The struggles during the Wars
During the First World War, they would defend the Nordic title in 1916 before losing the title to Norway in the final matchday of the 1918 edition of the championship. The next major tournament was the 1920 Summer Olympics in which they finished in third place overall. This was after they defeated Greece 10-0 in the first round which did include a hat-trick from Herbert Carlsson which was there first in international football. After scraping through over France, they would be knocked out by champions Belgium. They would fall in the first round of the 1922 FIFA World Cup after they lost to Switzerland by a single goal.
After the Svenska Serien was dropped to be replaced by the Allsvenskan in 1924, the hope of creating new stars. The first international competition with the new league ended in a shock 3-2 defeat to Belgium in the second round of the Olympics when Henri Larnoe scored the winner to knock the Swedes out. After easily winning the Nordic Championship in 1925, they were drawn in Group C with Uruguay, Belgium and France. With Sven Rydell leading the goalscoring charts for Sweden, the nation would finish bottom of the group with two points with the only loss being against Uruguay.
The skipping of the 1928 Summer Olympics would be followed by qualifying for the 1930 FIFA World Cup, for Sweden they would be drawn with rivals Norway, Lithuania and Estonia. For the Swedes, they would qualify through to the second round after they easily defeated Lithuania and Estonia before drawing with the Norwegians. In the second round, Sweden was drawn with Denmark and the Soviet Union. Once again they couldn't defeat Norway as they lost 2-1 in Oslo but after they defeated their other two opponents they would qualify through to the World Cup.
For Sweden, they would be drawn in Group C with Brazil, Italy and debutants Egypt. The opening match for Sweden was up against Brazil and Sven Rydell who would once again lead the charts for Sweden as he scored a double in a 2-0 victory. After a struggling 1-1 draw against Egypt in which team fell behind from Mahmoud Ismail in the 39th minute, they would cause an upset when they defeated Italy by the same scoreline of 2-0 with Knut Kroon and Harry Lundahl scoring to knocked out Italy who entered the tournament 3rd in the World rankings. The country would by bundled out by Argentina by a single goal.
After failing in the Nordic Championship, Sweden qualified easily into the playoff for the 1934 FIFA World Cup when they drew with Latvia and Finland. Despite the loss to Norway, they would qualify by defeating Switzerland 1-0 at home. This meant that Sweden was drawn in Group C, with Argentina, Uruguay and Norway. After losing the opening game to Argentina 3-0 at Turin, the nation would qualify through to the knockout stage when they defeated Uruguay and Norway to meet up with Italy in the quarter-finals. The quarter-final match against Italy got off to a bad start when Angelo Schiavio scored in the 23rd minute to give Italy the lead. When Ernst Andersson scored his second for the tournament to give hope for Sweden. In extra time, Raimundo Orsi would score the winning goal and knockout Sweden in the same stage as last time.
After a shock loss to Japan in the first round of the 1936 Summer Olympics with Akira Matsunaga scoring the winning goal in the 83rd minute. The nation wouldn't qualify through to the 1938 FIFA World Cup after they finished in second place on goal average after only just defeating Estonia 2-1 in the opening game at Tallinn. In the second game against Denmark, they would score the opening goal in the 32nd minute from Lennart Bunke. But when Arne Sørensen scored the equaliser in the 78th minute to eliminate Sweden from qualifying for the World Cup.
The Swedish national team entered the 1948 Summer Olympics tournament with the hopes of a nation to give it they're all. The opening match saw the team defeat Austria two-nil after their opposition didn't play with any professionals that were playing in the Austrian league. After smashing Mexico 7-0 in the quarter-final stage, they took on Egypt who had defeated the World Cup champions Italy along the way to get to this stage. Henry Carlsson and Gunnar Gren would aid in the victory as Sweden won 3-0 over Egypt.
This meant that they took on Yugoslavia in the Olympic final which was held at the Empire Stadium in London. The final would see Sweden take out their first international football trophy with Gunnar Gren scoring the winning goal in the 84th minute to give Sweden a 2-1 victory. For Sweden this was a good step for the 1950 FIFA World Cup which was being held at home. But the Swedish Football Association didn't allow for professional players to play for the national team which meant that at home only amateurs would be playing for the team.
As hosts, Sweden was drawn in Group A with Italy (two-time defending champion), Belgium, Mexico and Chile. After the struggle in the opening game against Mexico with the team only getting a one all draw, the team started to hit the stride by defeating Chile 4-1 with Hasse Jeppson and Bror Mellberg both scoring two goals. After a 1-0 victory over Belgium, they caused a boilover when they defeated Italy 4-2 which was a weak side as seven of their starting crashed in the Turin Air Disaster. With Sweden winning the group, this meant that they took on fellow Olympic finalists Yugoslavia in the quarter-finals and Bror Mellberg goal deep in extra time would secure a 2-1 victory.
After knocking over Norway in the semi-final, they took on Great Britain in the final. With a crowd of 51,393 watching at the Råsunda Stadium, Sweden would take out their first and to date only World Cup triumph with Karl-Erik Palmér scoring the winner after Sweden fell behind early. This meant that the amateurs became World Champions as they were the seventh team to win a World Cup and the celebration of victory was seen all around Sweden.
With success comes failure
With the success of winning a World Cup still being high, preparation started to kick in for the next World Cup. After they took out the biannual Nordic Football Championship, the next international tournament was the 1952 Summer Olympics where they were expected to be one of the teams to get a medal. After smashing Norway in the opening round six-nil, they struggled to get pass Finland in the quarter-finals with them only scraping home by a score of 2-1 with Ingvar Rydell scoring the winning goal. The semi-final against Romania would see Sweden lose 3-1 with József Perényi getting two goals. They would end in fourth place after losing to West Germany in the third place playoff.
As they qualified through to the World Cup by being the defending champion, they were drawn in Group A with Uruguay, Hungary and Spain. After only getting a home a point against Uruguay in the opening game of Group A, they had a shock loss to Spain at Arica when Venancio getting the winner. This meant that Sweden had to get a win over Hungary which they would do with Åke Jönsson scoring the winner. This meant that they were drawn once again with Romania in the next phase and with the game going to extra time, Romania would knock out Sweden from the cup with a score of two-nil.
FIFA World Cup
Gold Silver Bronze
|FIFA World Cup record|
|1906||Did Not Participate|
|1938||Did Not Qualify|