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National team manager Janne Andersson presents his 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
National team manager Janne Andersson presents his 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Credit: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden World Cup squad picked without any domestic top flight players

7:05 min

Sweden will have no players from their domestic top division, Allsvenskan, for the very first time at a major tournament as Janne Andersson named his 23-man squad to take to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Sweden's national team manager ignored pressing claims from Östersund's Ken Sema and Hammarby's Jiloan Hamad to keep with the core of the squad that beat France at home and Italy over a two-legged play-off to claim their spot at the finals. 

"I think we showed in the qualification and the playoff that we had ... the same squad, and I think we did it really well. So hopefully it's a strength in that way," Andersson said of his decision to choose players outside Sweden's domestic league.

Swedish Radio's football correspondent Richard Henriksson tells Radio Sweden that while some people might be unhappy with the historic pick, it comes as no surprise.

"Everyone knows where Sweden's top division is in the football hierarchy in Europe or the World. Of course it says something about the quality and standard of the league and this is a squad where a lot of players who have been picked are not even playing for their club sides abroad."

Sweden's record goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic had flirted with an international return but announced two weeks ago that he would not be going to Russia.

Sweden plays South Korea, defending champions Germany and Mexico in Group F in Russia and Richard Henriksson says it's a tough group but will suit Sweden.

"It's a tough group but I think it suits the mentality of the team and the Swedish football fan. We like the underdog tag," he tells Radio Sweden.

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