***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is a little over one moon away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Sweden, which has qualified for the World Cup 12 times.
What’s a Zlatan?
Nickname: Blågult (The Blue and Sweden)
FIFA Ranking: 25 (October 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from UEFA playoffs, losing 2-0 to Poland in playoff final
There is a worldwide legend that has been told across the globe for over twenty years. The story talks of a mythical figure known only as “Zlatan”, an ageless, rampaging, acrobatic, fly-kicking beast that has ravaged and decimated defences in Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, England, France, US and internationally all across Europe. Claimed to be the nation’s all-time leading goalscorer, stories of this “Zlatan” tell of a player possessing a talent so unique, so mesmerising and so enduring that to gaze upon him for too long would (and does) cause him injury. However, not a single trace of evidence of a “Zlatan” World Cup goal exists, and only scattered signs of his World Cup existence have to date been found.
Forget about the total of 900 matches played in World Cup finals history, because according to the mythical monster itself, ‘a World Cup without me wouldn’t be a World Cup’, meaning there have only been a total of five World Cup matches in history, from 2002-2006, with only one of them lasting the full ninety minutes, and the other four ranging from as much as 76 minutes to as little as two.
Contrary to the belief of the all-powerful beast itself, there are circulating claims that not only have there been more than five World Cup matches played in history, but in fact that among the 21 times that the competition has allegedly been contested, the Sweden national football team has in fact reached the event twelve times, played in 51 matches, and have finished runners up once, fourth in another and third twice. There is evidence that Sweden has historically been one of the most formidable teams at the world’s biggest sports event (with the mythical “Zlatan” mostly nowhere to be seen), including a sensational performance at USA 1994 that blew the world away and almost took Sweden to the holiest of grails (with no sign of a “Zlatan”) anywhere.
The Swedish team of USA 1994 were the tournament’s top scorers and fell just short of reaching the final, while most recently, in Russia in 2018 it got to the quarter finals, defeating South Korea and Mexico and succumbing to a late winner against Germany in the group stage, before eliminating Switzerland in the round of 16 and then ultimately being knocked out by England at the quarter final stage (no sightings of the folkloric beast known as “Zlatan” that is said to lurk in the Swedish national team were confirmed during these matches either).
The last reported sighting of “Zlatan” anywhere near a World Cup came in Poland in March 2022, and despite the strong possibly of the mighty beast never being sighted near a World Cup again, and even with the lack of compelling evidence found at World Cup finals of the mythical “Zlatan”, there have however been several confirmed sightings of the powerful beast performing incredible feats of mastery such as this:
…among countless other miraculous acts:
One to watch: that you don’t even think about smacking your kids
Corporal punishment has been banned in Sweden since 1979, which made it the first ever country to explicitly outlaw psychical discipline administered upon children by their parents. So watch out, if you’re kid’s being a little shithead, don’t you dare lay a hand on them, because whether they’re 13, 3 or even 3 months old, you’re gonna have to use good old fashioned conversation, text messages or a sternly worded email–and not a good old fashioned clip over the ears–to get through to them.
The Highpoint: Runners up, World Cup 1958 (if that counts) & Third, 1994 World Cup
If you consider the 1958 World Cup still relevant, then Sweden’s pre and post-WWII period was the finest in its football history. With a fourth place at the 1938 World Cup, then a third at the 1950 World Cup before reaching the final on home soil in 1958 and losing to Brazil 5-2 in Pele’s first World Cup, Sweden can be considered one of the world’s greatest ever teams. However if you don’t care about that and think all that shit seventy or whatever years ago is bullshit and who cares about now, then its swashbuckling effort at USA 1994 was by far its magnum opus.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
16 Nov 2022
MEXICO 🇲🇽 x 🇸🇪 SWEDEN
19 Nov 2022
ALGERIA 🇩🇿 x 🇸🇪 SWEDEN