Forsberg led the entire Bundesliga in assists with 19 during the 2016-17 season, to go along with eight goals. His numbers cratered this past season, partly due to injury, and he finished with just two goals and two assists in 21 appearances. That’s all the more reason to believe he’ll be going all out at the World Cup, though, looking to show potential suitors that he’s still a valuable transfer target.


How They Play

Sweden have recently struggled on the attack, scoring only one goal in their last four friendlies. They’ll likely rely on a 4-4-2 formation in the World Cup in the hopes that their midfield, especially Forsberg and Sebastian Larsson, can play a bigger role on offense. Strikers Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen have played together for Sweden since their youth days and have a good understanding of each other’s tendencies. Unfortunately, that hasn’t resulted in much success so far.


On defense, Manchester United’s Victor Lindelöf and veteran Andreas Granqvist are a solid duo. Lindelöf joined Manchester United from Benfica last summer but only played in 13 matches and never really found his footing. The 33-year-old Granqvist—who was named captain and is widely beloved, even getting offered a part in a popular Swedish crime drama—will be anchoring the squad both on the field and in spirit. For Granqvist, who debuted for the national team in 2006 but was dropped from Sweden’s team during qualifying for the last World Cup, it’s his last chance at playing for his country on the biggest stage.

The team doesn’t have its usual dose of flair and creativity to rely on, and instead it will have to focus intently on discipline. Manager Janne Andersson recently sounded like a grizzled English gaffer while describing how his squad will play:

We have a philosophy that we are working with the players on and that does not change depending on who we are playing. Basically, we need to prepare well, be well organised and have a bloody good attitude in Russia.


Group F Fixtures

All times Eastern

June 18, 8 a.m.: Sweden vs. South Korea at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium

June 23, 2 p.m.: Sweden vs. Germany at Fisht Stadium

June 27, 10 a.m.: Sweden vs. Mexico at Ekaterinburg Arena