Saturday’s World Cup Quarter-Final between England and Sweden is the biggest game for a long time for both sides, and while there’s no bitter rivalry between the two countries like there is for say, England and Argentina or Germany and the Netherlands, there’s no denying that the two teams do have some history.
England were of course managed by a Swede – Sven-Goran Eriksson – for half a decade, and the Premier League has played host to plenty of Swedish stars over the years, including Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The record between the two sides is relatively even, too – out of 24 games, England have 8 wins, Sweden have 7 and there have been 9 draws. They’ve also faced each other in four major tournaments since the dawn of the 1990’s – again with mixed results. The last time they faced each other was in 2012, when a Zlatan masterclass earned Sweden a 4-2 friendly win, but that aside, here are five other memorable times that England faced Sweden in competitive games.
#1: Sweden 2-1 England – Euro 1992
The 1992 European Championships took place in Sweden, and with a much smaller 8-team field back then, the winners and runners-up in two groups went directly into the semi-finals of the tournament. England and Sweden were drawn into a group with Denmark and France, and after drawing their first two games, England needed to win to advance as Sweden had managed to beat Denmark after drawing their opening game too.
Managed by the much-maligned Graham Taylor, England actually got off to a dream start when David Platt bundled in a cross from Gary Lineker. However, a poor Three Lions outfit that included the likes of Carlton Palmer and Andy Sinton were always going to struggle to maintain their lead, and a header from Jan Eriksson allowed Sweden to equalise early in the second half.
Chasing the game, Taylor curiously decided to withdraw talismanic striker Lineker, and paid the ultimate price – with about ten minutes remaining, forward Tomas Brolin played a wonderful one-two with strike partner Martin Dahlin and then fired a shot past Chris Woods and into England’s net to win the match.
England were eliminated from the tournament and Taylor was infamously lambasted as a “turnip” by the English press. Around 18 months later he resigned after his side failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup – a tournament that saw Sweden, still fielding most of the players from Euro 1992, reach the semi-finals before bowing out to eventual winners Brazil.