Euro 2017: Julia Spetsmark fitting in well with her new Sweden teammates

One of the most surprising Swedish names to make the final 23 for the Netherlands was that of 28-year-old Julia Spetsmark, the KIF Örebro woman, with just two caps to her name prior to travelling to the European Championships.

Happy surprise

A cameo against Iran last year with little after only seemed to confirm that the midfielder had no place in the national team however, with a rash of injuries her fine form more than warranted her inclusion for a friendly against the USA just before the tournament. Even still with only three recognised full-backs likely to go, the final spot in the squad looked to be going to a defender rather than anyone else. So, it was with great shock that Spetsmark was announced with her 22 peers, pundits as surprised as the player herself,

Expecting to be called up? Not really, I got a call-up because we had an injury and we had a pretty big squad – 27 players, I think – so to get picked out of that squad to play at the Euros was obviously a dream I had but not really what I expected, but I’m really happy about it, it’s fantastic to be here.

With the squad mostly unchanged from that that went to Brazil last summer to claim Olympic silver, Spetsmark was coming into a tight-knit group that had been through it all with each other. However, for Spetsmark and co, the team couldn’t have been more warm or welcoming,

The environment we have in the team is fantastic and everyone makes it so easy to really get into the team," She said, "we have a lot of fun and it’s like really relaxed and just amazing feeling to be here, it’s fantastic team. Everyone brings the best they have into everything.”

Known for having a fiercely competitive team, the hunger to win seen across their social media channels whenever the team are together, Spetsmark has not only experienced their pre-match activities for herself but has already been on the winning side,

I have, I won the one before the Germany game.” Smiling the midfielder goes on, “We had four teams, you got a name and had to draw it out on the big screen and the other teams had to guess so that was fun, a lot of fun.”

Solid showing against Germany

Spetsmark’s only involvement during Sweden’s first game against Germany was that of a spectator, watching her countrywomen hold the European giants scoreless for 90 minutes, the performance a solid one,

I think we had a really good performance, defensively it was a very good game for us, we did really well, I think Russia is going to be a different game and hopefully it will have some more attacking from us but overall I think it’s a really good performance at the start of the tournament.

In the drop-zone at the midway point of the season, Spetsmark’s Örebro hasn’t had the strongest start to the 2017 Damallsvenskan season, the experienced midfielder one of the few bright sparks in a struggling team, the side with an inexplicable knack to score world class goals with a surprising frequency, Spetsmark herself having claimed a handful of stunners. When asked if she’d talked with coach, Pia Sundhage, about the possibility to taking aim from range if she gets a chance, Spetsmark lamented that no, that hadn’t come up in conversation however,

It would be fun.” She started before her face grew serious when presented with the real idea of making her bow at a major tournament for Blågult, “I just hope I can follow whatever instructions I get if I have the chance to play.