Balling in Båstad: Sweden embark on preparations for the 2022 Euros

Sweden's forward Kosovare Asllani (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the Algarve Cup women's international football match between Portugal and Sweden at the Algarve stadium in Loule, near Faro, southern Portugal, on February 20, 2022. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP) (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Swedish women’s National team has gathered for their 2022 Euros pre-camp on home soil in Båstad, Sweden. They will enter the tournament as one of the big favourites to win it.

Now, the preparations are in full swing with intense training sessions. The players are as focused as they can be on the challenging games ahead. During media activities, Nathalie Björn and Hanna Bennison spoke to Her Football Hub.

Excitement in Sweden

“I’m very happy to be back with the team and start the preparations for real, for the Euros”, said Nathalie Björn. Having made the move to WSL side Everton in the summer of 2021, the defender knows the host country England well. “I think playing [there] with the national team will be the thing that I’m most excited about”, she added.

“[It] is such a football country, with all the fans and all the all the things around.”

Everton teammate Hanna Bennison, who is one of the rising stars in European women’s football, shares her excitement. The youngster competed with Sweden at the 2021 Olympics, where she made her tournament debut for the National team.

Sweden: Euros as a new experience

This experience is vital in her preparations. “It’s different feelings from other games, so I think it’s very important going into the Euros”, Bennison explained.

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However, the Olympics took place behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In contrast, the stadiums at the Euros will be packed with cheering fans this year. As the women’s game continues to grow, more and more spectators follow the games from the stands.

This newly created hype doesn’t go unnoticed by the players. “I think it’s very cool to be a part of that and I hope a lot of people want to watch the games and come to the games” reflected Bennison about her expectations ahead of the Euros. “I think it will be a very good experience.”

A milestone for women’s football

With record attendances and quality games on a nearly daily basis, the Euros will mark an important milestone in the development of women’s football.

“I really think that you can see now that the people are speaking about the tickets for the game because you wanna go and they’ve been even been talking about that”, reflected Björn on the signalling effect of the tournament.

The defender brings up the discussions about the capacity of the venues at the Euros. „They’ve been even talking that, oh, maybe they should be playing in bigger arenas because it’s a lot of pressure that people won’t take it.‘“

An important point that has also been made by Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir from Iceland with THEIR PITCH.

“So I think these Euros will really put the women’s football on the map”, emphasized Björn.

Going all the way with Sweden

The Swedish players have made their main goal a clear one. They want to reach the glorious final on July 31st at Wembley Stadium and finally crown their previous success with a big title. “We want to win, of course, yes”, emphasized Bennison.

However, the trophy is not the only thing the squad has in mind. Sweden are known for their humble approach and mindset. Nevertheless, the role as favourites will be an additional motivation for their campaign this summer.

“[We want to] play our football”, said Björn when discussing further ambitions at the Euros. “And we can show the world that we have a good team.”

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