Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sweden Greatest All-time 23 member team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of  was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Sweden World Cup 1958
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index

What if Sweden sent this team to the World Cup 1950

Sweden reached the semifinal of the 1938 World Cup Finals.  However, the result was credited with an easy route to the semifinal after the withdrawal of Austria.  Instead, football in Sweden first gained recognition at the 1948 Olympic Games when they won the Gold Medal. Star players such as Gunnar Gren, Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Nordahl were lured away by Italy's Serie A.  The trio would became known as the "Gre-No-Li" at AC Milan.  Because Sweden did not select professional footballers for their national team, the trio would miss the 1950 WC Finals.  Sweden still finished third, despite only using amateur players.  

In 1958, Sweden as the host nation of the World Cup Finals decided to bring back the professional players. Lennart Skoglund, Gunnar Gren, Nils Liedholm and Kurt Hamrin returned to the national team.  They finished second behind Brazil, their best performance at the World Cup Finals.  

After 1958, Sweden diminished.  They qualified for the WC Finals in 1970, 1974, 1978 and 1990, but did nothing of note.  They hosted the Euro 1992, where they reached the semifinal.  Then, Sweden made a run at the 1994 World Cup Finals in United States. Kennet Andersson, Martin Dahlin and Tomas Brolin formed a great offense as Sweden finished 3rd.  After 1994, Sweden qualified for big tournaments regularly, but only reached the quarterfinal of Euro 2004.
World Cup 1994
GK: Ronnie Hellstrom
Ronnie Hellstrom is considered one of the greatest keepers in the 1970's.  He started his career in Hammarby IF. He joined FC Kaiserslautern in 1974 and left in 1984. For the national team,  he played in the World Cup Finals in 1970, 1974 and 1978. In total, he received 77 caps. He won the Golden ball (Guldbollen) twice, in 1971 and 1978. 

GK: Thomas Ravelli
Thomas Ravelli played in the 1990 and 1994 World Cup Finals and, the European Champioship of 1992.  Sweden reached the semifinal in 1992  as the host and finished third in World Cup Finals. He gained a total of 143 caps and was the most-capped player for the Sweden national team for several years, At the club level he played for Östers IF , IFK Göteborg and Tampa Bay Mutiny(USA).

GK: Kalle Svensson 
Kalle Svensson was capped 73 times between 1949 and 1958.  He played in four big tournaments: 1950 and 1958 WC Finals and 1948 and 1952 Summer Olympics, finishing in the top 3 in all of them.  His 349 matches in the highest league is the third most for a goalkeeper in Allsvenskan. He also has got the less impressive record of being the goalkeeper who has conceded the highest number of goals in Allsvenskan, a total of 575. 

RB: Orvar Bergmark 
Orvar Bergmark is one of the greatest rightback ever produced in Europe. From 1951 to 1965, he was capped 94 times. He was a member of the 1958 WC team.  He played for Örebro SK and also played for A.S. Roma.  He was Sweden's Player of the Year in 1958.  He was also an international bandy player, and won silver medals at that sport’s World Cup also. 

SW/RB: Bengt Gustavsson
Bengt Gustavsson was capped 57 times. He was a member of the 1958 World Cup team.   He won the Guldbollen(Golden Ball) award in 1953 as Sweden's Player of the Year.   In 1947, he joined IFK Norrköping as a replacement for Gunnar Nordahl who left for Italy, but he was quickly moved to play in defence. He played for Atalanta between 1956 and 1961.

CB: Bjorn Nordqvist
Bjorn Nordqvist was capped 115 times by Sweden, which was the world record at one point.  He played in 1970, 1974 and 1978 WC Finals.  On club level, Nordqvist became Swedish league champion with IFK Norrköping as well as Dutch league and cup champion with PSV Eindhoven. He also played in the USA with Minnesota Kicks. He was awarded Guldbollen in 1968 and has been inducted to the Hall of Fame of Swedish football.  He also represented Sweden in ice hockey and bandy.
Bjorn Nordqvist
CB: Patrik Andersson
Patrik Andersson was capped 96 times for Sweden, playing in the 1994 and 2002 World Cup Finals, the 1992 and 2000 European Championship. He was known for his 8 seasons in the Bundesliga.  He was a star player for Borussia Mönchengladbach before joining Bayern Munich in 1999. He won a Champions' League title with Bayern Munich in 2001, where he scored the goal that sealed their title. He also played for Blackburn Rovers and Barcelona.

Ake Johansson had 53 caps for Sweden.  He was a member of the 1958 World Cup team.  He spent his entire career with IFK Norrköping.  With IFK Norrköping he owns the club record with 321 appearances.  He became Swedish champion with his club 6 times (1952, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962 and 1963).  He was Sweden's Player of the Year in 1957.  He also represented Sweden once in hockey.

CB: Glenn Hysen
Glenn Hysen came from a football family.  His grandfather, father and three sons played football.   He was a top defender for Sweden in the 1980's.  He was named Sweden's Footballer of the Year in 1983 and 1988. At the international level, he earned 68 caps between 1981 and 1990.  He captained Sweden at 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy. For club football, He played with IFK Göteborg and PSV Eindhoven before making a name with Fiorentina and Liverpool. 
Glenn Hysen
LB: Erik Nilsson
Erik Nilsson was a member of Sweden World Cup team in 1938, where they finished 4th.  He would win the Olympic Gold medal in 1948.  He also played in the World Cup in 1950, where he was on the All-tournament team.  In 1950, Nilsson was awarded the Guldbollen as the year's best Swedish football player. In 2003, he was inducted into the SFS Hall Of Fame. He spent his entire career with Malmo.

As a player, Glenn Strömberg won the 1981–82 UEFA Cup with IFK Göteborg before moving on to represent Benfica in Portugal (1983 to 1984) and Atalanta (1984 to 1992) in Italy. He won 52 caps and scored 7 goals for the Sweden national team between 1982 and 1990, and represented his country at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, where hje finished his career. He was awarded Guldbollen in 1985 as Sweden's best footballer of the year.

CM: Bo Larsson
Bo Larsson was Sweden Player of the Year in 1965 and 1973.  He was the first player to win the award twice. He spent most of his career with Malmo at the club level.  He also spent three seasons as a top player with Vfb Stuttgart.   He was awarded "Athlete of the Year" in 1969 by the city of Stuttgart.  In total he got 70 caps, scoring 17 times, and played at the 1970 FIFA World Cup, 1974 FIFA World Cup and 1978 FIFA World Cup.
Bo Larsson
DM: Jonas Thern
Jonas Thern had 75 caps. He captained the Sweden that finished third at the 1994 World Cup. He also went to Italia 1990.  Thern's playing career took him from Malmö FF in Sweden to FC Zürich in Switzerland and further in Europe to Benfica in Portugal, Napoli and Roma in Italy and finally Rangers in Scotland where he finished his career.  He was a legend at Benfica. 

RW: Kurt Hamrin
Kurt Hamrin is considered one of the greatest wingers in the history of the game.  He played in Italy from 1956 to 1971.  His best years were spent at Fiorentina, where he was considered to be one of their greatest players.  He also won an European Cup with AC Milan in 1968.  Hamrin played 32 times for Sweden between 1953 and 1965.  He was a star player as Sweden reached the Final of the World Cup Finals in 1958.
Kurt Hamrin
RW/LW: Fredrik Ljungberg
Fredrik Ljungberg was remembered for his 9 seasons with Arsenal under Arsène Wenger, where he won two Preimer League titles and three FA Cups.  After Arsenal, he had short spells at a number of clubs in England, Scotland, the United States, Japan and India.He was capped 75 times and was at one point, the captain of Sweden.  He played in the WC Finals of 2002 and 2006.  He was also known for his career as a model. 

LW: Lennart Skoglund
Lennart Skoglund is regarded as one of Sweden's greatest players.  He played in Italy from 1950 to 1963.  His best stint was probably with Inter Milan.  He also played for  Hammarby IF, Sampdoria and Palermo.  He only had 11 caps because of Sweden's ban on using professional players. He was a star at the World Cup Finals in 1950, where Sweden finished 3rd behind Uruguay and Brazil.  He was brought back into the national team for the 1958 World Cup Finals, where they finished 2nd.
Lennart Skoglund
FW: Henrik Larsson 
Henrik Larsson was the most important player of his generation.  He first amde a name as a young player at the World Cup Finals in 1994.  He went on to play in the World Cup Finals in 2002 and 2006, earning 106 caps.  He is also known for his 7 seasons with Celtics, where he was considered to be the best player playing in Scotland at the time.   With Celtics,  he won the European Golden Shoe.He also helped the team reach the 2003 UEFA Cup Final against Porto.

AM/FW: Gunnar Gren
Gunnar Gren was part of the famous "Gre-No-Li" trio of forwards at A.C. Milan and the Swedish national team during the 1950's.  He won a Gold Medal at the 1948 Olympics and helped Sweden to finish second at the World Cup finals in 1958. He is considered one of the greatest footballers for both Sweden and AC Milan. In Sweden, he played for IFK Gothenburg, AC Fiorentina, Genoa, and  Örgryte IS.

AM: Tomas Brolin
Tomas Brolin was a star player in the early 1990's, where he helped Sweden to finish 3rd at the1994 World Cup in the US and reached semi-final in Europran Championship in 1992 hosted by Sweden.  He played for Parma between 1990 and 1995, a period considered to be a Golden era for the club.  After an injury in 1995, he never regained form and bounced around different clubs before retiring at the age of 31.  He only had 47 caps.

AM: Nils Liedholm 
In Italy, Nils Liedholm was known as  Il Barone (The Baron).  He is probably one of both Sweden and AC Milan's greatest players.  He played for AC Milan between 1949 and 1961. Liedholm also won the Latin Cup in 1951 and 1956 and was captain of Milan in the 1958 European Cup Final against Real Madrid, losing 2–3 (after extra time). He was part of the famous "Gre-No-Li" line for both club and country.  He won a Gold Medal at the 1948 Olympics and helped Sweden to finish second at the World Cup Finals in 1958. 
Lennart Skoglund, Nils Liedholn and Kurt Hamrin
ST: Sven Rydell
Sven Rydell was at one point Sweden's all-time leading scorer.  He held the record from 1932 to 2014. He scored 49 goals in only 43 matches for the Swedish national team.  His only appearance at the world stage came in the 1924 Summer Olympics, at which Sweden won a bronze medal. On the club level, Rydell played for Örgryte IS, Redbergslids IK, and Holmens IS.

ST: Gunnar Nordahl
Gunnar Nordahl is probably one of both Sweden and AC Milan's greatest players.  He played with Gunnar Gren and Nils Liedholm to form the renowned Gre-No-Li line at AC Milan.  He was Serie A top scorer 5 times.  He is the all-time leading scorer at Milan.  He won the Gold Medal at the 1948 Olympics, but was not selected for the WC in 1950.  He played two years with Roma before retiring.  His brother Bertil and Knut also played for Sweden.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born in  Sweden of Bosnian-Croat origin.  He won Sweden Player of the Year 11 times.  He was the Serie A Player of the Year for 5 times.   He played with Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris St.Germain and now, Manchester United.  He is currently the second-most decorated active footballer in the world, having won 32 trophies in his career. At the time of writing, he has over 116 caps.  He is the all-time leading scorer for Sweden.  
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Honorable Mention
Andreas Isaksson, Magnus Hedman, Bengt Nyholm, Roland Nilsson, Olof Mellberg, Roland Grip, Gustaf Carlson, Knut Nordahl, Sune Andersson, Anders Svenssonm, Sebastian Larssonm Anders Limpar, Putte Kock, Glenn Strömberg, Ove Kindvall,  Martin Dahlin, Kennet Andersson, Stefan Schwarz, Karl-Erik Palmér, Hasse Jeppson, Ove Kindvall, Henry Carlsson, Birger Rosengren, Gunnar Andersson, Agne Simonsson, Gunnar Andersson, Ralf Edström, Roland Sandberg, Glenn Strömberg, Torbjörn Nilsson, Roland Nelson, Agne Simonsson, Mats Magnusson.

Squad Explanation
-- In May 2022, I did a review of this team.
-- Sweden finished third behind Brazil and Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup Finals.  Kalle Svensson, Lennart Skoglund and Erik Nilsson made this all-time team.  I redo the 1950  World Cup team over here with professional Swedish players at the time.
--Kalle Svensson, Ovar Bergmark, Kurt Hamrin, Nils Liedholm, Bengt Gustavsson, Lennart Skoglund, Åke Johansson and Gunnar Gren were members of Sweden's 1958 World Cup team, where they reached the Final as the host. Sweden recalled professional footballers to play in the World Cup Finals, where Sweden previously refused to select.  Five Italian-based footballers were on the team. Gren, however, had returned to play at home by that point. The Gre-No-Li line was aging in 1958.  Liedholm who was 35 years became the oldest player ever to score in the Final.  Pele at 17 years old was the youngest ever scorer.  Gunnar Gren was 37 while Gunnar Nordahl was not on the team.
-- Sweden finished third at the 1994 World Cup Finals. Thomas Ravelli, Tomas Brolin, Jonas Thern, Henrik Larsson and Patrik Andersson made my all-time team.  Jonas Thern was their captain.  Both Kennet Andersson and Martin Dahlin had a good World Cup Finals, but I only put them on honorable mention.
-- Gunnar Nordahl's two brothers Knut and Bertil also made honorable mention.  All three of them played in the 1948 Olympics. Gunnar and Bertil went to play in Italy's Serie A after the Games, but Knut stayed om Sweden and played in the 1950 World Cup Finals, where Sweden placed third.  Only Gunnar made this team.
-- Ronnie Hellstrom was widely considered to be Sweden's greatest keeper. Thomas Ravelli was well-known for his performance at the 1994 World Cup Finals.   He is also the second most capped player in Sweden's history.  
Ronnie Hellstrom
-- The third choice should belong to Kalle Svensson.  He held 73 caps and played in four big tournaments, the 1950 and 1958 World Cups, as well as the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games.  
-- Andreas Isaksson is tied for third as the most capped Swedish player, but his performance was not as highly rated as the three selected.  One Swedish source placed Magnus Hedman as the third greatest from Sweden.  He was the national team goalkeeper between Thomas Ravelli and Andreas Isaksson.
-- Bengt Nyholm was known for adding glue from flypaper to his gloves to improve their stickability.  It was an era before goalkeeping gloves were used.
-- Thomas Ravelli had a twin brother named Andreas who was capped 41 times as a central defender for Sweden.
-- Ovar Bergmark was considered one of Europe's greatest fullback.  After being voted as the best right-back as the 1958 World Cup Finals, he won the Guldbollen award in the same year.  On the left, Erik Nelson was voted in the Team of the Tournament of the 1950 World Cup Finals.  He was among the first group of players elected onto the Swedish Football Association's Hall of Flame. Roland Nilsson was voted as Sheffield Wednesday's greatest rightback, but I took Bengt Gustavsson who could play as a right-back, a center-half, a centre-back and a right-half.
--  In 2014, I selected 5 central defenders.  They were Åke Johansson, Patrik Andersson, Bjorn Nordqvist, Glenn Hysen and Olof Mellberg.  During the review, I dropped Melberg for another central midfielder. The other four were almost undisputed selections for the position.   
-- Bjorn Nordqvist was the most capped Swedish player until overtaken by Thomas Ravelli and others.  He was probably Sweden's greatest central defender.
-- In 2001, Patrik Andersson scored a last minute freekick goal for Bayern Munich against Hamburger in the last match of the Bundesliga season that gave Bayern Munich the league title.  He was also a big star at Borussia Mönchengladbach.  He is a member of my All-Time team.
Patrik Andersson
-- At Liverpool, Glenn Hysen formed a central-defensive partnership with Alan Hansen.  In 2013, he was ranked as the 83rd player in Liverpool's "100 Players Who Shook the Kop" list.  
-- Olof Mellberg is best known for playing 7 seasons at Aston Villa as well as spells with Italian side Juventus and Greek side Olympiacos.  He was a former captain with the Swedish national team, earning 117 caps.  He played in both 2002 and 2006 World Cup Finals as well as the Euro 2000, Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. He won the Guldbollen as Sweden's Football of the Year in 2003.  He had a feud with Fredrik Ljungberg while both played for Sweden.
-- I also came across Roland Grip and Gustaf Carlson. Gustaf Carlson helped Sweden to win a bronze medal at the 1924 Olympics.  He is a member Sweden's Football Hall of Flame.
-- Bo Larsson was as good playing as a striker, midfielder or fullback.  Jonas Thern was the captain of the 1994 World Cup team.  He played with Stefan Schwarz in Benfica.  I put Schwarz on honorable mention while taking Thern.  
-- So the team basically had two central midfielders, Bo Larsson and Jonas Thern.  Bengt Gustavsson also played as a center-half.  He could serve the third central midfielder.  During the 2022 review, I concluded that it was not enough.  So I dropped Olof Mellberg for another central/defensive midfielder. The final choice were between Bertil Nordahl and Glenn Strömberg.   I also considered Knut Nordahl and Sune Andersson.  They played around the same time and transferred to AS Roma together after the World Cup Finals in 1950 alongside another Swede Stig Sunqvist.  
-- Bertil Nordahl was awarded the Golden Ball for the 1948 Olympics.  The following year, he became the second Swedish professional player to play in Italy. His brother Gunnar had signed for AC Milan a week earlier.  Together, they paved the way for a generation of Swedish players to play professional football in Italy. 
-- Glenn Strömberg had a wonderful career playing in Italy.  He helped IFK Göteborg to win the 1982 UEFA Cup, which put Sweden's club football on the map.  They beat a very good Hamburger side that became the European Cup winner a year later.  I was going to select Bertiol Nordahl, but most lists ranked Strömberg in their top 10, not Bertil Nodahl.  So I went with him.
 -- For wingers, the choices were easy to make.  Kurt Hamrin is often listed as one of Fiorentina's greatest foreign players after Gabriel Batistuata and Julinho.  Lennart Skoglund was a star of the 1950 World Cup Finals who later earned a move to Inter Milan in the Fall of 1950.  Then, I added Fredrik Ljungberg.  He was remembered for his 9 seasons with Arsenal under Arsène Wenger. He was the Premier League Player of the Season for the 2001–02 season.  That year, Arsenal won the Double.
-- So I only put Anders Limpar and Putte Kock on honorable mentions. Anders Limpar played in an era where Arsenal and the English league was less successful in Europe.  Putte Kock won a bronze medal in the 1924 Summer Olympics as a football player, being voted the best left winger after the tournament. He also played ice hockey for Sweden.
-- Tomas Brolin, Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Gren served as my playmakers.  So I did not need Ove Kindvall who was also an attack midfielder.
-- Tomas Brolin was probably the biggest surprise on the team.  His career was cut short because injuries, but I gave him a lot of credits for his performance with both Sweden and Parma. He was one of the rising stars emerged from the 1994 World Cup Finals.
Tomas Brolin
-- Of course, all three members of "Gre-No-Li" line made the team. The line consisted of Gunnar Gren, Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm, who were teammates at AC Milan and Sweden.  They led Sweden to Olympic gold at the 1948 Olympic tournament in London.  The line was among the greatest ever for AC Milan.
-- Gunnar Nordahl is the third-highest Serie A goalscorer of all time, with 225 goals in 291 matches, only behind Silvio Piola and Francesco Totti. That makes Nordahl the top goalscorer among non-Italian players.  At the end of the 20th century, Liedholm was voted the best Swedish player of the millennium by the readers of Sweden's largest newspaper, Aftonbladet.
-- Gunnar Andersson never played for Sweden because he turned professional in an era, where Sweden did not select professional players.  His club career in France was stunning.  However, I felt that it was not enough to get him a spot on the team. I counted against him for never playing for Sweden. He earned an honourable mention.
-- The "Pal-Jep-Sko"(Calle Palmer, Hasse Jeppson, Lennart Skoglund) line got Sweden to third place at the World Cup Finals in 1950.  Skoglund is on this team while Palmer and Jeppson made honourable mentions. Jeppson was at point the most expensive player in the world when he joined Napoli, but he was largely a forgotten player.
-- Sven Rydell was at one point Sweden's all-time leading scorer.  He held the record from 1932 to 2014.
-- Torbjörn Nilsson is IFK Gothenburg's all time leading scorer with 332 goals. He also helped IFK Göteborg to win the 1982 UEFA Cup, which put Sweden's club football on the map.  Sven Goran Eriksson was the manager of the club. Many people rated him very high, but he was behind  Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrik Larrsen, Sven Rydell and Gunnar Nordahl. So I only put him on honorable mention.
-- Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the Guldbollen 11 times: 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.  He is probably the greatest Swedish player in the modern era.  At the age of 40, he still plays in the Serie A at the time of writing.  He also recovered from a serious injury.  So I have to give it to him.
-- Henrik Larsson was one of the greatest player ever played in the Scottish league.  At the end of his career, he also made some mark with Barcelona FC.  Both Martin Dahlin and Kennet Andersson starred for Sweden at the 1994 World Cup Finals alongside the younger Henrik Larsson, but they could only earn honorable mentions.
Henrik Larsson
-- During the 1974 World Cup Finals, Ralf Edström formed an attacking partnership with Roland Sandberg. During the tournament, Edström scored four goals, including the volley shot against the future champions West Germany.  Both made honorable mentions.
-- Henry Carlsson played with Helenio Herrera in France.  Later, when Herrera became coach of Atlético Madrid, Carlsson played under him.

Starting lineup
Formation 4-1-3-2 
This is a very offensive formation. In my opinion,  Zlatan Ibrahimovic has earned a place in the starting line ahead of Gunnar Gren.


  1. I think Gustaffson should start ahead of Johansson in central defence. They won a similar number of caps, but Bengt was a pro and so lost several caps when he was a pro. Bottom line, when Sweden recalled their pros for the WC in 58, Gustaffson started and Johansson went to the bench.

  2. 1.Ravelli
    2.Bergmark (c)
    10.G Nordahl
    7.B Larsson
    11.H Larsson

  3. Both Glenn Hysén and particularly Patrik Andersson was two better central defenders. They should be starters. Gunnar Gren too should be a starter. Otherwise it looks good.

    Åke Johansson could be dropped and Ove Kindvall should be ahead of players like H Larsson and Rydell.

  4. I'm surprised Conny Torstensson doesn't make an honorable mention. Two-time starter in winning European Cup team with Bayern and 40 caps for Sweden including two World cups.