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Swedish World Cup hero dead

Published onsdag 29 oktober 2014 kl 10.04
Klas Ingesson when managing Elfsborg. Photo:TT

Tributes poured in on Wednesday for Klas Ingesson, a member of Sweden's famous bronze winning 1994 World Cup squad, much travelled player and manager, who has died of cancer, aged 46.

Klas Ingesson played in two World Cups for Sweden in 1990 and in 94 where the national side famously reached the semi-finals in the United States. Marking the 20th anniversary of the tournament which gripped the country, Klas Ingesson featured in a documentary "The bronze heroes", where he spoke movingly of his treatment for the blood cancer, multiple myeloma.

"I will die of cancer I know that," he told SVT. Of his teammates in the 1994 World Cup squad, he said. "It connects us forever and it gives us more than just the bronze. It is life that counts and one feels. I think all we will go to everyone's funerals. The bands did not exist, but they are there. That's what's so  awesome." 

In a much-travelled domestic career which began at IFK Gothenburg, the hard-working midfielder played in England for Sheffield Wednesday, in Belgium for Mechelen, PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Bari, Bologna and Lecce in Italy and Marseille in France.

After receiving his cancer diagnosis in 2009, he returned to the game the following year as a junior trainer for Elfsborg in the top flight of Swedish football. He later became manager of the first team after Jörgen Lennartsson was sacked. However, as his condition deteriorated, he recently stood down from the job.

Tributes from the world of football flooded in on Wednesday following news of his death.

Tommy Svensson, who led the national side when Sweden took bronze in 1994 was deeply upset.

"I feel really upset. I have had contact with Klas in the last few days and was just told of his death by Lasse Eriksson," he told news agency TT. He was a fantastic person and friend. He was the symbol of the '94 gang. A fanstastic person who always did his best."

People can pay their respects at Elfsborg's home arena at lunchtime today.

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