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Rediff.com  » Sports » Penpix of Sweden's World Cup squad

Penpix of Sweden's World Cup squad

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May 26, 2006 16:54 IST
Sweden's squad for the World Cup finals in Germany comprises the following 23 players:

(Statistics up to and including May 23 2006)

GOALKEEPERS

1-Andreas Isaksson (Stade Rennes, France) Born: 3.10.81 Caps: 38 Goals: 0

Established himself as first choice after the 2002 World Cup, taking over from Magnus Hedman, who has now retired. Instrumental in Sweden surviving the group stage in Euro 2004, with a string of saves in the 1-1 draw with Italy. Moved to Stade Rennes from Djurgarden the same year. Has been troubled by a hip injury which kept him out for four months of this season, but should be fully fit by the finals.

12-John Alvbage (Viborg, Denmark) Born: 8.10.82 Caps: 1 Goals: 0

Joined Danish Superleague club Viborg from IFK Gothenburg last year and is the club's first-choice keeper. Made his full international debut in Sweden's 0-0 draw with Jordan in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 23.

23-Rami Shaaban (Fredrikstad) Born: 30.6.75 Caps: 0 Goals: 0

Joined Arsenal from Djurgarden in 2002 but broke his leg during training after just three Premier League appearances and never played for their first team again. After several short spells with small clubs he finally re-discovered his form at Norwegian first division side Fredrikstad whom he joined in December. Has never played for Sweden and was tempted to try his luck with Egypt, where he was born.

DEFENDERS

15-Karl Svensson (IFK Gothenburg) Born: 21.3.84 Caps: 1 Goals: 0

The squad's youngest player is primarily a central defender and as such is likely to feature as a substitute behind Mellberg and Lucic. Made his debut in the friendly with Saudi Arabia in January and also has 15 under-21 caps. Joined IFK Gothenburg as a 19-year-old in 2003 and is seen as one for the future by Sweden coach Lars Lagerback.

DEFENDERS

5-Erik Edman (Stade Rennes, France) Born: 11.11.78 Caps: 35 Goals: 1

Did not play in the 2002 World Cup but has since established himself as Sweden's best left back, playing as first choice in Euro 2004. With his precise crosses he is also important in attack. After one impressive season with Tottenham Hotspur he surprisingly moved to French side Stade Rennes last year, hoping to get more time on the pitch. Has been troubled by a foot injury recently but is expected to be fit for the World Cup.

3-Olof Mellberg (Aston Villa, England) Born: 3.9.77 Caps: 62 Goals: 2

Started in the national team on the right and gradually took over from the now-retired Johan Mjallby as the main central defender and skipper after the 2002 World Cup. Aggressive and a true leader, Mellberg also captains Aston Villa in the Premier League.

4-Teddy Lucic (BK Haecken) Born: 15.4.73 Caps: 80 Goals: 0

Despite an unimpressive club career, Lucic is a certainty in Sweden's central defence alongside Mellberg. After an unsuccessful spell with Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen he returned to the Swedish first division last year, joining BK Haecken.

14-Fredrik Stenman (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany) Born: 2.6.83 Caps: 0 Goals: 0

Competitive, two-footed and tireless, Stenman has made it into the squad despite not having played for Sweden's first team. Quickly established himself in the Bundesliga this year as a regular in Bayer Leverkusen, where he has been praised by director of football Rudi Voeller.

13-Petter Hansson (SC Heerenveen, Netherlands) Born: 14.12.76 Caps: 12 Goals: 0

The centre-back, who joined Dutch side Heerenveen in 2002, rarely gets to play for Sweden in anything other than friendlies. Was part of the squad in Euro 2004 but spent the tournament on the bench.

MIDFIELDERS

6-Tobias Linderoth (FC Copenhagen, Denmark) Born: 21.4.79 Caps: 56 Goals: 1

Physically strong and a good reader of the game, Sweden's defensive rock in midfield has been virtually unthreatened during the last two major championships. After three seasons with Everton he moved to Danish Superleague club FC Copenhagen in 2004.

19-Daniel Andersson (Malmo) Born: 28.8.77 Caps: 46 Goals: 0

Skilful but somewhat lacking in pace, Andersson is Linderoth's natural replacement. He returned to his old Swedish first division club Malmo in 2004 after spells with various smaller Italian clubs for six years.

9-Fredrik Ljungberg (Arsenal, England) Born: 16.4.77 Caps: 56 Goals: 12

Sweden's star of the midfield has tremendous pace and is an excellent ball holder. But his style of play often forces him to take harsh tackles from opponents, often resulting in injuries -- the only thing that could prevent him playing at the World Cup. Scored five goals in seven Sweden appearances during 2005.

21-Christian Wilhelmsson (Anderlecht, Belgium) Born: 8.12.79 Caps: 27 Goals: 2  

A phenomenal dribbler capable of playing on both sides of the midfield or as a winger as he does for Anderlecht, where he moved in 2003 from Norwegian side Stabaek. Got his Sweden breakthrough during Euro 2004.

7-Niclas Alexandersson (IFK Gothenburg) Born: 29.12.71 Caps: 85 Goals: 7

A Sweden veteran who played in Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup when he scored Sweden's goal in the 1-1 draw with England in their opening group match in Saitama. Returned to the Swedish first division from Everton in 2004, proved himself as one its best midfielders and has as a result returned to regular action for Sweden.

8-Anders Svensson (Elfsborg) Born: 17.7.76 Caps: 65 Goals: 13

Inconsistent but technically gifted attacking midfielder who has had some brilliant moments for his country, such as the stunning free kick he scored against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup. Returned to Elfsborg from Southampton last year.

16-Kim Kallstrom (Stade Rennes, France) Born: 24.8.82 Caps: 32 Goals: 4  

The question still remains whether Svensson or Kallstrom should be Sweden's first-choice attacking midfielder. Tall and stocky, Kallstrom lacks pace but provides excellent long balls and free kicks. Has recently shown fine form with Stade Rennes in the French League.

2-Mikael Nilsson (Panathinaikos, Greece) Born: 24.6.78 Caps: 25 Goals: 3

His limitations as a defender shone through in Euro 2004 where he lacked physicality and the will to tackle. Moved to Panathinaikos in August after Southampton's relegation from the Premier League to boost his chances of making it into the Sweden squad, but he has spent most of his time with the Greek side on the substitutes' bench.

FORWARDS

10-Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Juventus, Italy) Born: 3.10.81 Caps: 37 Goals: 18

Sweden's new superstar combines technical brilliance with speed despite his 1.93-metre height and is an excellent target player. Made a remarkable debut for Juventus in the 2004-05 season, helping them to clinch the Serie A title as the club's top scorer. Scored eight goals during the qualifying campaign.

11-Henrik Larsson (Barcelona, Spain) Born: 20.9.71 Caps: 88 Goals: 34

The squad's oldest and most capped player who has been one of the great goalscorers in European football over the last decade. Made an excellent return to Barcelona this season, starting up front in the Champions League, after missing most of the previous season with a knee injury. Hugely popular at Celtic where he became the club's most prolific scorer in modern times with 175 goals in 221 League appearances. Will return to his old Swedish first division club Helsingborg after the World Cup.

18-Mattias Jonson (Djurgarden) Born: 16.1.74 Caps: 52 Goals: 9

A workhorse who has made crucial appearances as a Sweden substitute. Scored the controversial 2-2 goal against Denmark in Euro 2004 that put the two Nordic teams into the last eight at the expense of Italy. Joined Djurgarden from Norwich City last year.

22-Markus Rosenberg (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands) Born: 27.9.82 Caps: 7 Goals: 3

The Swedish first division's top scorer during the 2003-2004 season, who joined Ajax last year. Has Champions League experience with the Dutch side, scoring goals against Brondby and Arsenal, and has impressed in several Sweden friendlies, most notably in the 1-1 draw with France in February last year.

20-Marcus Allback (FC Copenhagen, Denmark) Born: 5.7.73 Caps: 55 Goals: 23

Physical, tough and strong in the air with an impressive goals-to-games ratio on an international level but past his prime. With the younger Ibrahimovic improving and Larsson coming out of Sweden retirement at Euro 2004, he has had to settle for a substitute role.

17-Johan Elmander (Brondby, Denmark) Born: 27.5.81 Caps: 17 Goals: 7

After spells with Feyenoord, Djurgarden and NAC Breda, joined Superleague giants Brondby in July 2004, clinching the Danish double in his debut season. Also a capable midfielder who played in six of Sweden's 12 matches last year, including World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Croatia.

Source:
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