Some Olympic tidbits

Umeå's Brazilian defensive player Elaine will meet her national team when Brazil arrives in Umeå for their traditional pre-championship training camp, which begins today. But since she damaged her knee in an indoor tournament in January, she will not be able to join the team for the games in Beijing. When she hurt her knee almost six months ago, she really wanted to belive she would be fit in time for the Olympics. But as the months went by she began to realize that she wouldn't make it. "I am maybe one or two months away now. Then I might be ready to play one half." She tells that she had a long conversation with Brazil's national team manager, who comforted her saying that there will be more opportunities to play in Olympic games for her. She is still young.
OS-drömmen som slets sönder

Sweden's national team is training on the sunny island Gotland in the Baltic before they take the trip east. Lotta Schelin and Victoria Svensson has been resting, but nothing to worry about says national team physician Per Lindblom. On the other hand are Caroline Seger and Josefine Öqvist starting to look really good and are doing high intensity training now.
Svensk fotboll: Seger-Öqvist bättre, Schelin-Svensson vilade

Lotta Schelin, probably Sweden's biggest star at the moment, is the only one in the squad that doesn't get any stipends from the Swedish Olympic Committee. The reason: she makes too much money anyway. Lotta isn't happy about this, but when told that she has been treated the same way as other big Swedish athletic stars like Carolina Klüft and Sanna Kallur, she is ready to accept it.
Aftonbladet: ”Skittråkigt”

Mixed national team news

Neither Caroline Seger nor Josefine Öqvist dressed for the match against Norway on Sunday. Seger is still troubled by the injury she got against USA two weeks ago, but she isn't worried about her playing in the Olympics. Josefine Öqvist is having problems with a four year old groin injury, but is now almost back in full training.
Corren: Ingen fara med Öqvist

Some of us had expected that coach Dennerby should use the match for some kind of decision on the back-up keeper position. But neither Caroline Jönsson nor Kristin Hammarström left the bench. It didn't surprise Caroline Jönsson "The recent championships they have always played the first choice keeper the entire last match before the tournament, so it was expected". Jönsson, who is just back from a lengthy injury period and only has played two league matches this season, is mostly just happy to be back. She says she doesn't care if she becomes the second or third keeper - "It's not that big a difference".
Aftonbladet: Jönsson fick inte visa upp sig

First keeper Hedvig Lindahl says that the increasingly close competition in the Swedish league has helped her and other players to perform better than last year. "Last year we who are playing on other teams didn't think we could defeat Umeå. But we in Linköping has shown that we can do that and other teams have won points [from Umeå]. I think mthere are many of us that have gotten more confidence in ourselves as the league is getting closer." Umeå IKs oslagbarhet sänkte självförtroendet

Frida Östberg thinks that team mate Madeleine Edlund should have been on the Olympic team: "She is absolutely the kind of player that would have been good to have in the Olympics". Edlund has been scoring generously for Sweden's U23 team in the Nordic Cup recently. But coach Dennerby simply comments that if he thought that edlund should have been in the team, she would have been there: "The four forwards I have chosen is a good mix".
Västerbottenskuriren: Östberg: "Jag tycker att Madelaine Edlund borde vara med"

Promising Olympic dress rehearsal for Sweden, defeats Norway

Norway - Sweden  0 - 2 (0-1)
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl - Anna Paulson, Sara Larsson (59 Karolina Westberg), Charlotte Rohlin (59 Stina Segerström), Sara Thunebro - Linda Forsberg (59 Hanna Ljungberg), Nilla Fischer (78 Johanna Almgren), Frida Östberg, Therese Sjögran (78 Lisa Dahlkvist) - Victoria Svensson (72 Jessica Landström), Lotta Schelin
Goals: 0-1 Lotta Schelin (26), 0-2 Jessica Landström (90)
Great play from Sweden in the pouring rain in the southern Norway town of Sandefjord. Strong defense, good movement on the outsides and a varied attacking play was things to be happy about for national team coach Thomas Dennerby: "We played a great match and were clearly better than Norway. I think we have taken a big step forward."
Lotta Schelin showed that she is getting back into form after her injury-ridden spring season. Her goal was a great performance as she recieved the ball from Victoria Svensson and simply out-run her Norwegian marker and scored with a hard, low shot in the far corner of the goal. The main thing missing in the match was more like this. With more efficiency in front of goal, the score could have been much higher.
Dagens Nyheter:
Stabilt svenskt OS-genrep
NRK: Slet mot Sverige søndag (video)

Seger's Olympic play in danger

Sweden's and Linköping's midfielder Caroline Seger has been diagnosed with a bleeding in a thigh m,uscle, an injury that usually takes one month to recover from. She left the last training before the match against Malmö with pains in her thigh muscle, but she might have sustained the injury already in the international against USA last weekend.
Seger is a given starter for Sweden and I would guess that Dennerby will take his chances and not replace her. But there is getting quite a lot of players, whom we are hoping will be healthy in time for the Olympics.
Linköping's coach Daniel Pettersson was by the way not happy about how the Football Association had crammed in a national team match in an already pressed schedule. The more, I presume, since Linköping contributes with more players to the national team than any other club. Four of his five players came home with some kind of injuries.
Seger kan missa OS, Skador stör LFC inför toppmötet

Miscellaneous national team views and news

Örebro's Kristin Hammarström isn't really pleased with Dennerby's decision to postpone the goalkeeper decision for his Olympic team. "It feels like I am the last resort", she says and continues "You would think that the national team management would have learned from when Hedvig Lindahl only had two league matches before the World Cup [last year] and couldn't perform her best". She gets support from her club coach Richard Holmlund, who says he cannot understand the decision. "The way I see it, [Kristin Hammarström] has been the best keeper in the league this season".
Nerikes Allehanda:
Hammarström till OS- men bara som reserv?

Göteborg's Sara Lindén and Umeå's Madeleine Edlund are the two best Swedish scorers in Damallsvenskan so far. Neither of them gets to go to the Olympics in China. Edlund comments to her local paper, that it wasn't surprising or very disappointing to her: "It would have been a great bonus on top of a successful season to go to the Olympics, but appearently they think there are better forwards than me in Sweden. I can buy that."
Västerbottens Folkblad: Madde ska visa att hon borde fått åka till Kina

Abby Wambach, USA's forward star, wasn't that pleased with her team's performance against Sweden, but liked Skellefteå. "It's a great town. Everything around the match has worked perfectly. Everyone has been very friendly", she said and added that she could see herself coming back to play, to which the journalist said something like "No, but seriously..". But Abby insisted "I like it here and it is not at all impossible. I've always wanted to play on the other side of the ocean, and why not here?"
For my part, I'm still thinking she's just being nice to the locals. Shannon Boxx also said something similar, but added that first she wants to play in her domestic league.
Norra Västerbotten: Wambach öppnar för Sunnanå

Sunnanå SK were responsible for all match arrangements at the Sweden-USA match last weekend. Sunnanå's players all had some kind of function at the match. You saw them everywhere around the arena. Rebecca Smith worked as liaison with the USA team and met up with her old friend and California neighbour Shannon Boxx. Midfielder Kristin Wiklund sang both national anthems, and in a way that made us all think that she could very well have chosen that career instead.
Norra Västerbotten: Bex och Boxx fick äntligen träffas, Sverige - USA (pictures)

Dennerby announces Sweden player roster for Olympics

National team head coach Thomas Dennerby earlier today announced the player roster for the Olympic games. It seems like he solved his problem with one defender too much by making Frida Östberg a midfielder. He commented that he liked to pick versatile players that can play in more than one position. The second goalkeeper spot is not decided. Either Carolina Jönsson or Kristin Hammarström will stay behind as an alternate.


Hedvig Lindahl Linköpings FC
* Kristin Hammarström Kif Örebro
* Caroline Jönsson LDB FC Malmö


Karolina Westberg Umeå IK
Stina Segerström Kif Örebro
Anna Paulson Umeå IK
Sara Thunebro Djurgården
Sara Larsson Linköpings FC
Charlotte Rohlin Linköpings FC


Caroline Seger Linköpings FC
Frida Östberg Umeå IK
Josefine Öqvist Linköpings FC
Therese Sjögran LDB FC Malmö
Linda Forsberg Djurgården
Nilla Fischer LDB FC Malmö


Lotta Schelin Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC
Jessica Landström Linköpings FC
Hanna Ljungberg Umeå IK
Victoria Svensson Djurgården

Johanna Almgren Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC
Lisa Dahlkvist Umeå IK
Madelaine Edlund Umeå IK
* K.Hammarström or C.Jönsson

Svensk Fotboll:
Ljungberg, Westberg och Jönsson med till OS

USA wins close match over Sweden

Sweden - USA 0-1 (0-1)
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl - Frida Östberg (69 Anna Paulson), Sara Larsson (18 Stina Segerström), Charlotte Rohlin (53 Karolina Westberg), Sara Thunebro - Nilla Fischer - Jessica Landström (74 Johanna Almgren), Caroline Seger (69 Lisa Dahlkvist), Therese Sjögran - Lotta Schelin (59 Hanna Ljungberg), Victoria Svensson
USA: Hope Solo (46 Nicole Barnhart) - Heather Mitts (46 Rachel Buehler), Kate Markgraf, Christie Rampone, Lori Chalupny - Heather O'Reilly (81 Aly Wagner), Shannon Boxx, Carli Lloyd, Lindsay Tarpley (63 Angela Hucles) - Natasha Kai (81 Amy Rodriguez), Abby Wambach
Goals: 0-1 Carli Lloyd (39)

Sweden's head coach Thomas Dennerby declared after the match that he, in spite of the narrow loss, was very pleased with his team's performance: ”I'm really pleased with all the players today”.
USA never managed to take charge in the match, where Sweden played a very aggressive defensive high in the field. The first half showed good play from both sides with fast turns and good combinations in attack. USA's goal came from one of fairly few good chances from their side, as Sweden's maybe not quite coordinated defense let Carli Lloyd travel through the area unattacked. Her shot touched a Swedish defender and the changed direction caught Hedvig Lindahl on the wrong side. The match slowed down somewhat in the second half, as the American side seemed less attacking minded and more concerned of holdning on to their lead. Maybe a bit of travel fatigue?
Therese Sjögran was without doubt Sweden's player of the match, intelligent and composed, always dangerous on set pieces. She just lacked a bit of power and accuracy in front of goal. Lotta Schelin still didn't seem fully recovered from her early season injuries, but showed good initiatives. When she was traded for Hanna Ljungberg after about 60 minutes, Sweden's attack lost some of it's strength.
Dennerby used all his six possible substitutions and tried out all his defenders, probably in a last minute effort to decide which of the seven players to drop when he announces the player roster for the Olympic games Sunday evening. I don't know if it helped that much – all did well even if Sara Larsson had to leave early with a thigh muscle contusion. On the outsides Frida Östberg and Sara Thunebro did well, defensively but in particular in the attack.

Match pictures
in tonight's SVT sports news, 10 min 29 into the clip. Including a couple of botched Sjögran opportunities. Schelin would have scored on those.

Sweden - USA: Hanna Ljungberg starts on the bench

Sweden's national team coach Thomas Dennerby announced the starting line-up already 24 hours before kick-off. Hanna Ljungberg, who hasn't played a full 90 minutes in ages, starts on the bench. Jessica Landström gets an unusual outside midfield position, subbing in for still slightly injured Josefine Öqvist, and in defense Dennerby starts with the Linköping duo Sara Larsson and Lotta Rohlin. Dennerby explained that if the choice between players is really close, as it is in Sweden's defense, he does take in account if some players knows each other and work together really well.

Sweden's starting eleven:
Hedvig Lindahl - Frida Östberg, Sara Larsson, Charlotte Rohlin, Sara Thunebro - Nilla Fischer - Jessica Landström, Caroline Seger, Therese Sjögran - Lotta Schelin, Victoria Svensson.
Svensk Fotboll:
Tuff uppgift för Sverige (if you follow the link, there is also a presumed starting line-up for USA)

In an interview with SVT, Pia Sundhage says that managing USA is like eating the cake and still having it; you get to work with the best players in the world and you get to coach them like a club team. She feels a little sorry for Thomas Dennerby, who gets about as many weeks a year with his players as she gets months.
SVT: Sundhages landslag är också ett klubblag

Sweden qualifies for Euro 2009, Westberg scores first national team goals!

Ireland - Sweden 0 - 5 (0-3)
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl - Frida Östberg, Karolina Westberg, Stina Segerström, Sara Thunebro - Nilla Fischer - Josefine Öqvist (80 Johanna Almgren), Lisa Dahlkvist (72 Linda Forsberg), Therese Sjögran - Jessica Landström (61 Lotta Schelin), Victoria Svensson
Goals: 0-1 Karolina Westberg (24), 0-2 Victoria Svensson (33), 0-3 Josefine Öqvist (37), 0-4 Karolina Westberg (74), 0-5 Lotta Schelin (87)
Wednesday June 25, Carlisle Grounds, Bray, Wicklow.
Attendance: 1,450
From what I have been able to piece together from the Irish audio webcast a pretty comfortable win for the Swedish side. A generelly much better Swedish side - faster, stronger, better - with a somewhat disappointing Irish performance. The first half goals were considered "very, very soft" and Irish goalkeeper Emma Byrne didn't seem to have any of her better days.
A few snippets from the webcast:
"They [Sweden] are very confident, their goalkeeper is the only player in their own half now", "Victoria Svensson, the class player of the evening", "Women against girls".

The win, Sweden's sixth in as many matches, secured the first place in the qualifying group and thus a ticket to the 2009 Championship in Finland. National team coach Thomas Dennerby said that he was completely satisfied: "We have done the job and can put this behind us", which I hope means that he's happy to focus on the Olympics, not that he wants to leave walk-over for the two remaining qualifiers this fall.
Lotta Schelin made her national team come-back, subbing in at the 60 minute mark and scoring, and said she isn't worried about making it to the Olympics. Karolina Westberg, scoring her first goals ever for Sweden in her 124th match, isn't as confident. She was picked for the team only after three other defenders had to cancel: "If he wants another type of player, there's not much I can do about it", Karro commented. "I think he was pleased with me today, but it's hard to know if that is enough for a spot in the Olympic team".
Nerikes Allehanda:
Sverige klart för fotbolls-EM
Västerbottenskuriren: Karro tog Sverige till EM

National team: Player replacements for the Ireland match

The Swedish national team has, as usual I'm inclined to add, been forced to make a few replacements in the squad originally announced for the upcoming Euro qualification match against Ireland on June 25. Replacing Malmö's Malin Levenstad, who suffered a serious knee injury in the match against AIK a week ago, wasn't such a big deal since she was already planned to give way for Djurgården's Sara Thunebro for the USA match on July 5.
Then both Linköping's defenders Sara Larsson and Charlotte Rohlin took ill and were forced to cancel. They will be replaced by Umeå's Karolina Westberg (not a big surprise, she was obviously in the running for the first pick) and, more surprising, Sunnanå's 22 year old Alexandra Nilsson. The uncapped Nilsson has been a steady starter for Sunnanå this season and has 8 caps for the U21/23 team.
Svensk Fotboll:
Charlotte Rohlin missar EM-kvalet

National team: New and old players for Ireland and USA

The eagerly awaited return to the national team by Victoria Svensson, Lotta Schelin and even Hanna Ljungberg was announced by national team head coach Thomas Dennerby as he disclosed the squad for the Euro qualifier against Ireland on June 25 and for the friendly against USA July 5.

Victoria Svenson has already returned from her injury spell and her scoring twice against Umeå last weekend is really all there needs to be said, commented Dennerby. Schelin hasn't returned to her club team yet, but has been looking good enough in training for Dennerby to nominate her. And he doesn't pick Hanna Ljungberg, who didn't dress for her club team in tonight's top match at Malmö, for Ireland, but wants her on the squad against USA.

He also picked two fairly fresh faces, Malmö's defender Malin Levenstad and Umeå's midfielder Lisa Dahlqvist. "They have shown a consistently high level in the league" was Dennerby's comment. They both made their national team debuts on Cyprus early this year, when Sweden fielded a "baby team" without most of the big names but still defeated England and Norway. Dennerby obviously thinks they have proven worthy bigger assignments, possibly even the Olympics. I don't think that he, at this stage, picks players for the national team, that aren't under consideration for China.

Kristin Hammarström, KIF Örebro, 820329 , 3
Hedvig Lindahl, Linköpings FC, 830429, 31

Sara Larsson, Linköpings FC, 790513, 75
Malin Levenstad, LdB FC Malmö, 880913, 1 (only the Ireland match)
Anna Paulson, Umeå IK , 840229 , 21
Charlotte Rohlin, Linköpings FC, 801202 , 9
Stina Segerström, KIF Örebro, 820617, 24
Frida Östberg, Umeå IK , 771210 , 70

Johanna Almgren, Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, 840322 , 12
Lisa Dahlkvist, Umeå IK, 870206, 2
Nilla Fischer, LdB FC Malmö, 840802, 32
Linda Forsberg, Djurgården, 850619, 4
Therese Sjögran, LdB FC Malmö, 770408, 124
Josefine Öqvist, Linköping FC, 830723, 48

Jessica Landström, Linköpings FC, 841212 , 10
Therese Lundin, LdB FC Malmö, 790303 , 57
Lotta Schelin, Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, 840226, 49
Victoria Svensson, Djurgården, 770518, 146

Additions for the USA match:
Sara Thunebro, Djurgården, 790426, 29
Caroline Seger, Linköpings FC, 850319, 42
Hanna Ljungberg, Umeå IK, 790108, 128

It's Name, Club, Date of birth (year-month-day), Number of caps if you're wondering. And Caroline Seger is on a yellow card suspension and not allowed to play against Ireland.

Svensk Fotboll:
Svensson och Schelin tillbaka mot Irland och USA

Euro qualifying: 5-0-0, 23-0

5-0-0, 23-0. That's Sweden's essential statistics after five matches played in the qualifications for the 2009 Euros: 5 matches won, 23 goals scored, 0 goals conceded.  It is not, if you just look at the numbers, enough to secure first place and automatic qualification to the championships in Finland next year. But both coach and players has declared that there is no way they are going to miss it. Quite the opposite, head coach Thomas Dennerby's goal is to win all eight qulification matches without letting in any goals. With a home and away against Ireland and a home game against Romania remaining, Dennerby's goal doesn't seem unreachable at all.

With the three offensive key players - Hanna Ljungberg, Victoria Svensson and Lotta Schelin - all out of action due to injuries, one could sense some worries before the May qualification matches. But not about Hungary. No matter what team we field, we will overcome Hungary was Dennerby's pre-match comment. The match, a 6-0 pounding with goals from five different players, confirmed his opinion and the Swedish side were not kind in their assessment of the Hungarians: the played like a bad team from the Swedish 2nd tier.

Italy was a harder nut to crack. A pretty firm grip over the match, with from time to time dangerous Italian counters, enthusiastic runs from Josefine Öqvist, but really big problems creating goals and even scoring opportunities. Jessica Landström came from the bench to save Sweden seconds from the final whistle. A worrying performance if this had been Sweden's preferred line-up, but hopefully Svensson and Schelin will join in time for China. I don't dare to hope anything for Ljungberg.

Match reports? Again, check out

Hungary - Sweden 0-6 (0-4)
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl - Frida Östberg, Sara Larsson, Charlotte Rohlin, Sara Thunebro - Nilla Fischer - Therese Sjögran (68 Josefine Öqvist), Caroline Seger (76 Johanna Almgren), Maria Karlsson - Therese Lundin, Jessica Landström (64 Maria Aronsson).
Goals: 0-1 Maria Karlsson (12), 0-2 Sara Larsson (23), 0-3 Therese Lundin (34), 0-4 Nilla Fischer (37), 0-5 Therese Lundin (68), 0-6 Josefine Öqvist (78).
May 3, Sóstói stadium, Székesfehérvár, Hungary
Attendance: I haven't been able to find out if there was anyone at all

Sweden - Italy 1-0 (0-0)
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl - Frida Östberg, Sara Larsson, Stina Segerström, Sara Thunebro - Nilla Fischer - Therese Sjögran, Caroline Seger, Johanna Almgren (70 Madelaine Edlund) - Therese Lundin (61 Jessica Landström), Josefine Öqvist.
Goals: 1-0 Jessica Landström (90)
May 7, Behrn Arena, Örebro
Attendance: 7,347

Good draw for Sweden in the Olympics

The draw for the women's Olympic football tournament was made today, with a reasonable good result for Sweden. They will meet China, Canada and Argentina in the group play. Sweden's group will be based in Tianjin, which is what coach Dennerby wished for.

Coach Dennerby didn't want to agree that it was a dream draw, but "it is at least a draw where we have a good chance in every match".

The two other groups consists of Germany, Brazil, North Korea and Nigeria in Shenyang while USA, Norway, Japan and New Zealand will play in Qinhuangdao.

Bra lottning för Sverige i OS-fotbollen
Aftonbladet: Sverige mot Kina i OS

Schelin and Ljungberg missing in Sweden's squad for Euro qualifiers

Both Lotta Schelin and Hanna Ljungberg will be missing when Sweden goes to Hungary May 3 and than hosts Italy four days later in two important qualifying matches for the 2009 European Championships. Schelin is as earlier reported out for a month since Göteborg's match against LDB FC and Hanna is gfeeling from an old injury since a training session last Tuesday. National team coach Thomas Dennerby is still confident: "Our goal is to qualify without losing any points and that doesn't change because of this".
Another missing veteran is Umeå's defender Karolina Westberg, who has missed Umeå's opening matches in Damallsvenskan to injury. "She is competing with six healthy players that has been playing regulary", explains Dennerby.

Kristin Hammarström, Kif Örebro
Hedvig Lindahl, Linköpings FC

Sara Larsson, Linköpings FC
Anna Paulson, Umeå IK
Charlotte Rohlin, Linköpings FC
Stina Segerström, Kif Örebro
Sara Thunebro, Djurgården
Frida Östberg, Umeå IK

Johanna Almgren, Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC
Nilla Fischer, LDB FC Malmö
Linda Forsberg, Djurgården
Caroline Seger, Linköpings FC
Therese Sjögran, LDB FC Malmö
Josefine Öqvist, Linköping FC

Madelaine Edlund, Umeå IK
Jessica Landström, Linköpings FC
Therese Lundin, LDB FC Malmö
Victoria Svensson, Djurgården

Svensk Fotboll: Schelin och Ljungberg missar EM-kvalet

At least three weeks on the injury list for Schelin

Göteborg's and Sweden's start forward Lotta Schlin had to leave the match against LDB FC Malmö last Sunday with a thigh injury. It has now been established that it is her muscle tear old injury that has come back again. She first got the injury training for Algarve Cup and she has been played very coutiously by her coach since. Göteborg's Damallsvenskan opener at Malmö was planned to be her first full match. She will now have to rest for 3-4 weeks, which leaves her outside Sweden's team for the European Championship qualifying matches against Hungary and Italy.
Schelin borta minst tre veckor

Venue set for Sweden - USA match in July

The Swedish Football Association has decided to give the assignment to host the friendly between Sweden and USA on July 5 to Skellefteå. The match will be played at Norvalla, a stadium that Sunnanå calls home and everyone else calls way up north.
Sunnanå's marketer Roger Fransson calls the event "the biggest thing that has happened in football on these latitudes" and Skellefteå can also boast an all-wins record for the Swedish national team at Norvalla.
Norra Västerbotten: "Vi siktar på rekord"

Algarve Cup round-up

There weren't much TV or press coverage of Algarve Cup this year, much to the disappointment of both fans and players. Eurosport didn't cover the event this year, since the German broadcaster ZDF had bought the German rights. And without Germany, it was difficult for Eurosport to carry the Cup, both financially (Germany is their biggest market) and technically (they claim it is not possible for them to block out their broadcast from german recievers). And with no TV coverage, there is much less interest from the press. So it is hard to know what really happened. It didn't go that well for Sweden, resultwise, but this is on the other hand one of those tournaments where Swedish coaches always states that it is the performance, not the result, that is important.

So how about the performance? Coach Thomas Dennerby said that he was really pleased with the defense. There has been a lot of worry how it will work without retired Hanna Marklund, but the centre defense has been "consistently great, no matter who played". With Karolina Westberg, Stina Segerström, Charlotte Rohlin and Sara Larsson to chose from there shouldn't be any worries. And for those who are interested in possession percentages, Sweden has been able to control the ball most of the time, even against Germany. But in the important last third of the field the play has been slow and without edge. It has been stereotype, with bad movement from the players and very few alternatives to play, says TT's Thomas Eriksson, one of the very few journalists that were at the site. It seems like the only player that has strengthened her position in the Swedish attack is Lotta Schelin. Who didn't play (a minor muscle tear kept her outside the team), but whose absence was very noticeable. And Johanna Almgren looked good the few minutes I saw her against Germany, showing spark and initiative but missing an almost open goal.

Finland - Sweden 1 - 3 (0-2)
Sweden: Kristin Hammarström (Kif Örebro) - Frida Östberg (Umeå), Karolina Westberg (Umeå), Charlotte Rohlin (Linköping), Sara Thunebro (Djurgården) - Nilla Fischer (LDB FC Malmö) - Therese Sjögran (LDB FC Malmö) [72 Josefine Öqvist (Linköping)], Victoria Svensson (Djurgården) [66 Caroline Seger (Linköping)], Johanna Almgren (Göteborg) [87 Anna Paulson (Umeå)] - Hanna Ljungberg (Umeå) [66 Jessica Landström [Linköping]), Therese Lundin (LDB FC Malmö)
Goals: 0-1 Hanna Ljungberg (25), 0-2 Nilla Fischer (28), 1-3 Therese Lundin (87)
It was a lot like another day at the job for Sweden as they dismissed a young Finnish side. They did let Finland back in the game in the second half, letting Kif Örebro's Leena Puranen score, but generally controlled the match.
Hanna Ljungberg's opener was her 72nd international goal, making her Sweden's number 1 goalscorer of all times, passing by Lena Videkull and Pia Sundhage, who both managed 71 in their careers.
Finland is very much in transition right now with a lot of new players. Anne Mäkinen quit the national team 2006, Laura Kalmari gave birth to a daughter last week and both Sanna Valkonen and Jessica Julin has declared that they are taking this year off from the national team.
Svensk fotboll: Finland inga problem för Sverige
Dagens Nyheter: Roligare minnen för Ljungberg

Denmark - Sweden 1 - 0 (1-0)
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl (Linköping) - Anna Paulson (Umeå), Sara Larsson (Linköping), Stina Segerström (Kif Örebro), Frida Östberg (Umeå) - Caroline Seger (Linköping) [58 Nilla Fischer (LDB FC Malmö)] - Therese Sjögran (LDB FC Malmö) [64 Josefine Öqvist (Linköping)], Victoria Svensson (Djurgården)[75 Sara Thunebro (Djurgården)], Frida Nordin (LDB FC Malmö) [64 Johanna Almgren (Göteborg)] - Therese Lundin (LDB FC Malmö) [58 Hanna Ljungberg (Umeå)], Jessica Landström (Linköping)
While the last three encounters with Denmark has featured Danish ball control and fluent passing with Swedish efficient counters, this was pretty much the opposite. Denmark relied on cautious defending and fast counters, while Sweden were allowed to posses most of the time. The compulsory Danish goal from a header (they have scored this way in every match against Sweden the last year) came already in the 6th minute from Cathrine Paaske Sørensen (later to be named tournament MVP). Against a better organized side than Finland, Sweden's problems to create scoring chances proved fatal. In spite of running the game, they failed to challenge the Danish keeper.
Svenska Dagbladet: Sverige förlorade i Algarve cup

Germany - Sweden 2 - 0 (1-0)
Sweden: Kristin Hammarström (Kif Örebro) - Anna Paulson (Umeå), Sara Larsson (Linköping), Charlotte Rohlin (Linköping), Sara Thunebro (Djurgården) - Nilla Fischer (LDB FC Malmö) - Therese Sjögran (LDB FC Malmö) [71 Johanna Almgren (Göteborg)], Victoria Svensson (Djurgården) [59 Josefine Öqvist (Linköping)], Caroline Seger (Linköping) [71 Frida Östberg (Umeå)] - Hanna Ljungberg (Umeå) [77 Frida Nordin (LDB FC Malmö)], Jessica Landström (Linköping) [59 Maria Aronsson (LDB FC Malmö)]
Just like in the match against Denmark, Sweden was allowed to hold on to the ball but were unable to convert the possession to goals. Germany's first goal in the 25th minute emanted, just like Denmark's, from an offensive throw-in, where Sweden didn't mark their opponents the way they should have if it had been a free-kick. Sandra Smisek could beat her defender and get one-on-one with the keeper. Germany also got a late (86th minute) penalty goal after a situation the referee just as well might have let pass by.
Even if you always want to win, as coach dennerby said, both players and coach were after the match fairly satisfied with the team's performance. Hanna Ljungberg called it "a fall forward" and once again it was the defense that worked best.
Expressen: "Ett fall framåt"
SVT: match clip (video)

Sweden - Italy 3 - 0 (0-0)
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl (Linköping) - Frida Östberg (Umeå) [49 Anna Paulson (Umeå)], Karolina Westberg (Umeå), Stina Segerström (Linköping), Sara Thunebro (Djurgården) - Caroline Seger (Linköping) [56 Nilla Fischer (LDB FC Malmö)] - Frida Nordin (LDB FC Malmö) [56 Therese Sjögran (LDB FC Malmö)], Therese Lundin (LDB FC Malmö) [56 Victoria Svensson (Djurgården)], Johanna Almgren - Josefine Öqvist (Linköping) [83 Charlotte Rohlin (Linköping)], Maria Aronsson (LDB FC Malmö) [56 Jessica Landström (Linköping)]
Goals: 1-0 Josefine Öqvist (56), 2-0 Victoria Svensson (61), 3-0 Victoria Svensson (80)
A placement match for the 5th place doesn't really get my blood running, and it seemed like the players weren't really up to it either. The first half was probably Sweden's worst in the tournament. Things didn't shape up until Dennerby made a major substitution ten minutes in to the second half, throwing in old reliable players like Victoria Svensson and Therese Sjögran. Sweden will be facing Italy again in May, as they are playing in the same European Championship qualification group, and Dennerby pointed out that the win gives Sweden an advantage: "the Italians knows they will have a tough match and our girls knows they can win".
Dagens Nyheter: "Vickan" hjälte i Algarve

Forsberg replaced by Nordin on Sweden's Algarve Cup roster

Djurgården's Linda Forsberg will not participate in Algarve Cup. She has not completely recovered from her knee injury, as her having to walk off the field after only 20 minutes in last week's friendly against Hammarby showed. She will be replaced by LDB FC Malmö's winger Frida Nordin.
Svensk Fotboll:
Linda Forsberg missar Algarve Cup

Dennerby picks experienced team for Algarve

Sweden's squad for the Algarve Cup in March was today named by national team coach Thomas Dennerby. Unlike the youthful selection that went to Cyprus, this is an experienced side. The 100+ capped Victoria Svensson, Hanna Ljungberg, Therese Sjögran and Karolina Westberg are all back while only one of the 6 players that got their first caps against England and Norway on Cyprus returns, Örebro goalkeeper Kristin Hammarström.
"This is the last chance to take a thorough look at the players for the Olympics. All the young players that were with the team on Cyprus performed well and improved their chances. There is a good competition and it's tough in all parts of the team", commented Dennerby his selection.

Points of interest:
Linköping's Josefine Öqvist is back on the team after her ACL injury last summer. She is in full training, but still hasn't played her first match since June 2007. She is supposed to do so this weekend.
Johanna Almgren returned to the national team after a long and grueling injury period when she started against Norway last week. Either she impressed a lot or Dennerby simply wants to have a better look at her - she has hardly played a full 90 minute match for more than a year and a half.
Of the many national team injury victims last year, we are now only waiting for usual starting keeper Caroline Jönsson to return. She was close, but experienced problems with her knee during Malmö's camp in South Africa and will have to wait for next time.

Kristin Hammarström, Örebro
Hedvig Lindahl, Linköping
Sofia Lundgren, AIK

Sara Larsson, Linköping
Anna Paulson, Umeå IK
Charlotte Rohlin, Linköping
Stina Segerström, Örebro
Sara Thunebro, Djurgården
Karolina Westberg, Umeå IK
Frida Östberg, Umeå IK

Johanna Almgren, Göteborg
Nilla Fischer, Malmö
Linda Forsberg, Djurgården
Caroline Seger, Linköping
Therese Sjögran, Malmö
Victoria Svensson, Djurgården
Josefine Öqvist, Linköping

Jessica Landström, Linköping
Hanna Ljungberg, Umeå IK
Therese Lundin, Malmö
Lotta Schelin, Göteborg

Dennerby satsar på rutin i Algarve
Dagens Nyheter: Erfaren trupp till Algarve Cup
Svensk Fotboll: Rutinerad trupp till Algarve Cup

At the same time, Dennerby also announced the bigger group of players that will participate in the Swedish national team's yearly strength and fitness test. in addition to the players on the list above, these were called up: Caroline Jönsson (LDB FC Malmö), Johanna Frisk (Umeå IK), Malin Levenstad (LDB FC Malmö), Lina Nilsson (LDB FC Malmö), Lisa Dahlkvist (Umeå IK), Maria Karlsson (Linköpings FC), Maria Nordbrandt (KIF Örebro), Frida Nordin (LDB FC Malmö), Linda Sembrandt (AIK), Maria Aronsson (LDB FC Malmö) and Madelaine Edlund (Umeå IK).

Finally, Sweden defeats Norway

It's been a while since Sweden last defeated Norway. Exactly how long was the subject of some debate. Since 2003, Thomas Dennerby guessed, but he was way off the mark. Sweden defeated Norway in an unofficial test match just before the 2000 Olympics, but that match doesn't appear in the Norwegian FA's statistics. We have to go back to the European Championships 1995 to find an official Swedish win and all the way to 1985 to find the last time Norway was denied any goals.
(The good people at did the work in the archives, thanks.)

By the way, Sweden defeating Norway just before the 2000 Olympics should teach you just how much you should rely on the results from this kind of matches to predict the outcome of an upcoming championship. Norway won the gold 2000, Sweden managed to get 1 (one) point in three group matches.

Sweden - Norway 2 - 0 (1-0)

Sweden: Kristin Hammarström [Örebro] (46 Sofia Lundgren [AIK]) - Anna Paulson [Umeå] (46 Anna Lindblom [Hammarby]), Malin Levenstad [Malmö], Charlotte Rohlin [Linköping], Frida Östberg [Umeå] (46 Sara Thunebro [Djurgården]) - Linda Sembrandt [AIK] (64 Maria Karlsson [Linköping]) - Nilla Fischer [Malmö] (89 Sara Larsson [Linköping]), Johanna Almgren [Göteborg] (85 Lisa Dahlkvist [Umeå]), Frida Nordin [Malmö] (64 Maria Nordbrandt [Örebro]) - Lotta Schelin [Göteborg], Jessica Landström [Linköping] (71 Madelaine Edlund [Umeå])
Goals: 1-0 Lotta Schelin (16 PK), 2-0 Jessica Landström (68)
Dennerby continued to use the Cyprus camp to give as many rookies as much exposure as possible. Sweden started with a centre line looking like this: Hammarström (0 caps) - Levenstad (0) - Sembrandt (13 minutes against England the other day), Almgren (5), Landström (3). Needless to say the coach was pretty pleased with what they accomplished.
The Norwegian side, also a somewhat unexperienced side even if they sported a full-size attack with Kaurin-Gulbrandsen-Herlovsen up front, had the wind in their backs the first half and the Swedish defense was kept busy. Sweden managed fairly few counters, but Nilla Fischer got brought down in a penalty area shuffle at a Swedish free-kick and Lotta Schelin converted the following penalty-kick. Norway then earned a penalty-kick of their own, but rookie goalkeeper Kristin Hammarström read the shot well and saved.
The second half was, as these matches usually are, marked by numerous substitutions on both sides. Sweden had the advantage of the wind in the second half and created probably a little bit more than Norway in the match as a whole. Jessica Landström scored the second goal on a fairly typical Swedish manner - defender Charlotte Rohlin won the ball on Sweden's half and delivered a long ball through the Norwegian defense to Landström, who had a pretty easy finish.
The Cyprus training camp gave head coach Dennerby a lot of promising answers: "I am very pleased with everyone who has played in these two matches. It really feels like we have a much broader selection of players", he said and added that the more experienced players that were left at home this time will be challenged by these younger players the next time he selects a starting eleven.
Lotta Schelin has now, with her penalty goal, scored in every one of the last five matches for the national team.
Dagens Nyheter:
Svensk debutant höll nollan
Svensk Fotboll: Äntligen seger mot Norge Sverige bröt förlustsviten mot Norge

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