Swedes have high hopes for Euro 2016 success
A fresh survey shows half of Swedes believe Sweden will make it to the quarter finals in France, which has some commentators wondering if fans here should stop mocking the English for overrating their team.
The Euro 2016 kicks off in France this Friday and here in Sweden there is great optimism about the national team's chances of success. A survey commissioned by Swedish Radio's sports department and conducted by the Sifo polling institute shows more than half of Swedes believe Sweden will make it to the quarter final at the very least.
Commenting on the survey results, Swedish Radio's football expert Richard Henriksson said: "I didn't anticipate this level of optimism, especially considering Sweden's results in the qualifying rounds. Sweden ended third in its group."
So how reasonable is it for Swedes to be this optimistic ahead of Euro 2016?
"If everything goes well – if Sweden plays as well as they did in the play-off games against Denmark and if superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic can keep performing at an extremely high level - then maybe Sweden could go far," Henriksson told Radio Sweden. "But", he added, "that would be a surprise and not something you can count on."
Swedish football fans often say their English counterparts tend to overestimate their chances of success in international tournaments. That is a "mainstream opinion" among Swedish fans, according to Henriksson. "But," he said, "after seeing today's survey results maybe we shouldn't be laughing so hard at the English anymore."
The Swedish Radio survey indicates that Swedes are a lot more optimistic than Fifa, which has conducted its own ranking ahead of the Euro 2016 tournament. It predicts Sweden will end up in the second to last place.
So, who is right: Fifa or the Swedish people? Henriksson said: "You have to bear in mind that the Fifa ranking is based on previous results which date back a few years. Still, Sweden is of course not one of the favourites in this tournament."