Sweden have qualified on the back of winning the UEFA under-19 European Championship last year in Israel. With that title comes a lot of expectation, and Calle Barrling has chosen a young squad to help fulfil these. The U20 tournament is for players born in 1996 or after, and Sweden only have five players born in that year: Stina Blackstenius, Julia Ekholm, Tove Almqvist, Anna Oskarsson and Olivia Wehlin.
The rest are younger with AIK’s Loreta Kullashi being the youngest at just 17. 12 of the selected players were part of the team that won the European Championship.
Despite this being a young squad, plenty of the players have experience from the Damallsvenskan or the Elitettan. Barrling still has to pick two additional players – one being a goalkeeper and the other being an outfield player.
Can Stina shine once more?
Followers of the Swedish league will recognise several of the names, perhaps none more so than Blackstenius. The young Swedish forward, who has just been crowned Swedish Champion with Linköping, has scored 17 goals in the league so far, which means she is second in the goalscoring charts. She also impressed for Sweden at the Olympics. This has shot her to fame with Europe's elite all keeping an eye on her.
Other players that might pop up is Blackstenius’ teammate Almqvist, who has been given plenty of playing time for the Swedish champions. Kopparsbergs/Göteborg’s Maja Göthberg, who has been sidelined for a few weeks during the season, has been impressive for her club when fit, as has Piteå IF’s trio in Ronja Aronsson, Ellen Löfqvist and Lotta Ökvist.
Another name to note down is Michelle De Jongh. The KIF Örebro player, who recently signed a new contract with the club, is considered by some to be the next midfield general in Sweden, and she has certainly showed signs of this during this season. During this tournament, she will have to work together with Anna Oscarsson. Oscarsson, who plays for Hammarby, has proven her qualities over and over again in the Eliteettan. Many more can be picked out, which shows how strong the Swedish squad is.
A few names missing
However, it could have been even stronger, but due to FC Rosengård and Eskilstuna United participating in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, and the Round of 16 overlapping with the tournament, they have decided to hold onto their players – for now. The primary players to lose out are Nathalie Björn, who captained the team in the European Championship, and goalkeeper Zecira Musovic. The latter also missed out on the European Championship because Rosengård decided to keep her at the club.
The under-20 World Cup kicks off on 13th November and lasts until 3rd December. Sweden are in a group with host nation, Papua New Guinea, North Korea and Brazil.
Goalkeepers: Emma Holmgren (Sirius) and Moa Öhman (Piteå).
Outfield players: Ronja Aronsson (Piteå), Julia Ekholm (Hammarby), Maja Göthberg (Kopparsberg/Göteborg), Ellen Löfqvist (Piteå), Amanda Persson (Växjö), Josefine Rybrink, (Kungsbacka), Lotta Ökvist (Piteå), Tove Almqvist (Linköping), Filippa Angeldal (Hammarby), Anna Anvegård (Växjö), Stina Blackstenius (Linköping), Rebecka Blomqvist (Göteborg), Michelle De Jongh (KIF Örebro), Loreta Kullashi (AIK), Anna Oskarsson (Hammarby), Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (Djurgården), Olivia Welin (Limhamn Bunkeflo).