When Sweden enter the pitch on July 21, Caroline Seger will break her own record. The team’s opener against the US will be her 216th appearance for Sweden.
The yellow and blue captain broke a historical record earlier this year. Sweden rehearsed for the Olympics in Tokyo against Australia back in June. Seger became not only the most capped player in Sweden, but in all of Europe. As she led the Swedes out to take on the Matildas in Kalmar, she collected her 215th cap. This broke the record held by legends Birgit Prinz of Germany and Therese Sjögran of Norway.
Seger’s journey in the Swedish national team began back in 2005. She made her debut against Germany during the Algarve Cup. Later that year, she played her first big international tournament at the European Championships in England. 16 years later, Seger is now Europe’s torch-bearer for number of international appearances. The Swedish captain can come full circle if she takes part in next summer’s Euros in England.
3rd Olympic Games
Seger has played four Euros and four World Cups. When the kick-off takes place in Tokyo, it will also be her third Olympics. She has two World Cup bronze medals from 2011 and 2019. In Sweden, she has been named Player of the Year twice.
In Brazil 2016 she was a part of the team that made it all the way to the Olympic final. Sweden’s journey ended there with a silver medal. This time out, Seger is back for the noblest medal of them all – the golden one.
A holding midfielder
Sweden’s captain has a big role to play if they are once again going to reach the final. Together with Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson, Seger is the most important player in the buildup in the attack. The midfielder is also an essential part of the Swedish defence. If Magda Eriksson is the conductor at the back, Caroline Seger is Sweden’s midfield engine that never stops running.
Seger’s qualities lie with her abilities to link up with the defence to help in the buildup stage. She is an excellent short progressive passer and stable in 1 v 1 defending when needed. Her experience is shown in her confidence when in possession of the ball. Calm and composed, she often holds on to the ball even when being pressured by the opponent. This visual graphic below shows her season in numbers from 2020 playing for Rosengård in the Damallsvenskan.
A shield protecting its unit
As the captain she is, Seger is always there when needed. As her heat map shows, she operates mainly on the left side of the pitch. This heat map is from all games registered in WyScout over the years with the national team. Seger often offers her support by dropping down to her defense. She joins fellow left side players Eriksson and Jonna Andersson to provide extra defensive protection.
When Sweden played the US in April, Seger showed what an asset she is more than once. One could easily think of a shield when watching the Swedish skipper play. The image below shows this. Seger, with her back towards Sweden’s backline, marks the US player carrying the ball.
Seger successfully challenged the attack and brings the ball away for Sweden. What does this action mean for Sweden? She stopped the attack from the US without the Swedish back five even having to lift a finger.
Like Eriksson, Seger brings experience and leadership onto the pitch for Sweden. But it may be her calmness and composed style of play that will be the key to Sweden’s success or not in this Olympic tournament. Sweden is one of the favorites with the potential to be champions. For this Swedish team to handle that pressure or not will be one of Seger’s primary missions as the captain.