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Sweden - solid if not spectacular

As Roy Hodgson looks set to be named England manager, Rob Hogg takes a look back at the first country he managed in and the unforgettable Sweden home shirt of 1998/9 - as worn in European Championship qualifiers against England. 

Who can forget Sweden’s unbeaten performance in the Euro 2000 group qualifying stage? A blistering performance saw them smash through the group with a 7-1-0 record, scoring a total of 10 goals.

That they managed to combine an incredible win record with a seemingly uninterested attack was down to their defence. In the whole group stage Sweden only conceded 1 goal - and that was to a free kick from Shearer, in the first minute of the first group game.

This meant their defence wasn’t breached for another 719 thrilling, end to end, up-and-at-‘em boys minutes - well done lads, thanks for the game! The shirt itself is a nice touch of tradition with the thread collar.

Sweden Home Shirt

Sweden home shirt, Adidas, 1998/9

Sadly for the tournament itself, the kit makers in Stockholm must have been gripped by nationalistic fervour, whipped up by ecstatic joy of watching Magnificent Magnus Hedman and his band of noble warrior defenders, and for the tournament itself made a new version that incorporated a lot more blue.  The resultant extravagant kit saw Sweden quite rightfully crash out at the group stage (with only one 0-0 along the way).

But let’s go back to happier times for Sweden, and from the first qualifying game against England (2-1) we can not only see the only goal they let in, but also Seaman playing like he has had at least 7 or 8 pints pre-game. And then in the return leg at Wembley why not act as a witness to Scholes attempting to assassinate Hakan Mild.  

Lycka till Roy!

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