Pelé: "Everything in my life started here"
The Swedish national team in soccer will play Brazil Wednesday evening. The game will be the last international game at the Råsunda stadium in Stockholm, where legends have been made.
For most of the players gathered at the Råsunda stadium for a training session, Råsunda is an odd setting. They're used to playing in high-tech arenas in front of up to 80,000 fans - over double this 75-year-old stadium's capacity.
But for Pele, one of the true legends of football, this ground north of Stockholm is historic. This is where he, at 17, scored two goals against Sweden to win the 1958 world cup for Brazil.
Brazil visit Råsunda once again tonight, albeit with players about fifty years younger than Pele. They arrived in Stockholm from London, where they suffered an Olympic final defeat against Mexico last week.
Despite that loss, the Sweidsh captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic is glad to be facing a team of Brazil's caliber.
"They have fantastic players, and the play the way I like to play," Ibrahimovic said at the press conference.
His favourite memory of the Råsunda stadium was when, in his first game for the national team, he could hear the crowd chanting his name before he came on from the bench.
The midfielder Anders Svensson's brightest Råsunda memory is Sweden's victory over Holland in the European qualifiers last year.
"The final goal came a bit too early. We had about 30 minutes left to play," Svensson said. "But when the final whistle blew, I felt extremely happy and proud of the team."
While stakes were high then, tonight's game is inconsequential: a friendly game has no bearing on Sweden's place in future tournaments. But Sebastian Larsson, who plays for a club team in England, is nonetheless looking forward to it.
"Obviously the result doesn't really matter, but we want to get off to a good world cup qualifying campaign. This is the start of it, so hopefully we can have a good game," Larsson said.
Once Friends Arena opens, about 500 metres northeast of Råsunda, Sweden will be fighting to qualify for the next world cup against teams like Germany and Ireland.
And by then, the process of tearing down Råsunda will be underway. The stadium be replaced by apartment buildings – which, some might argue, Stockholm needs more than a football landmark.
By Sven Hultberg Carlsson
Zlatan ruled out of Brazil friendly
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not feature in Sweden's gane against Brazil Wednesday evening.