Team Sweden gathers for World Cup
So the moment is finally here, the moment all women soccer players have been waiting for ... I'm returning to Sweden!
We're about three weeks from the World Cup, and the Swedish national team will soon be gathering in Goteborg for our send-off games. The final roster has been picked, 75 percent of tickets are sold for the games in Germany and everything is falling into place. Now the only thing left to do is pack.
Ugh. I'm the world's worst packer. I never know what to bring. I don't want to have too much stuff, but I also don't want to be stuck in Germany with no clothes. Maybe instead of an agent, I should hire a personal packer. They can decide whether I need to have my sparkling new boots from London or if I should just stick with my soccer cleats. Cute red shorts from H&M or winter parka? These are things I just shouldn't have to think about right now.
But enough about that, I'm sure you'll want to know about our final squad. Is this the best Sweden has to offer? Are we going to live up to the expectations? Will Sweden beat its record second-place finish from the 2003 World Cup?
I can't make any promises, but I can give you the lowdown on the squad:
There was only one big surprise with the announcement of the roster and that was Kosovare Asllani not being on it. She's frequently been with us in camp, and there was a time where she was a definite for the World Cup. Unfortunately she's had a rocky last month, and the coach decided not to take her. My heart breaks a little for Kosse. She's such a good kid and great teammate. I know that she has it in her to do well, but in the cut-throat soccer world, you can't afford to be off of your game this close to the Cup.
Instead, we'll be taking the rising star Sofia Jakobsson from Umea IK. At 22, she'll bring some fresh legs and excitement to the group. I think she's the type of player who won't be fazed by being in her first World Cup. While some players might get really overwhelmed and overthink the situation, she'll stay cool headed.
Outside of that switch, the roster is pretty steady. The team, in general, was almost identical with what I expected and I think we have a good mix of old experienced players and young, hungry, unpredictable ones. You have the youthful players (Antonia Goransson and Jakobsson) and then the most capped players (Lotta Schelin and Lotta Rohlin). Therese Sjogran could basically be my grandmother, she's been on the team so long. I just hope her dentures don't fall out during the game. Only joking. Therese's experience will go far for us. She's a player who I absolutely love to play with. I know I can always rely on her, and we've played together so many times, I can easily find her on the field.
It's going to be that mixture between experience and raw talent that will make for the perfect Swedish blend. A World Cup is not only about playing and performing, it's also about being in the moment and getting yourself 100-percent prepared between top-level games and also having a little luck.
So now if I can just get these bags packed, I'll be all set for the World Cup!