World Cup 2023: Kosovare Asllani says Sweden ‘has the team to win’

Kosovare Asllani of Sweden looks on during a match
SOLNA, SWEDEN - JUNE 28: Kosovare Asllani of Sweden during the Women's International Friendly match between Sweden and Brazil at Friends Arena on June 28, 2022 in Solna, Sweden. (Photo by David Lidstrom/Getty Images)

Sweden and AC Milan star Kosovare Asllani was in Monaco in December to receive the Golden Foot Award, a prize given to active players aged at least 28.

Asllani has written history, as she is the first female player to receive this reward.

Speaking to Her Football Hub, the 33-year-old said she believes this is a good way to allow women’s football to keep growing.

While in the Principality, Asllani also discussed the chances of Sweden winning the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer.

You became the first female football player to ever win the Golden Foot Award. What does it mean to you?

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It’s a big honour for me to be here, in Monaco, and to win this prize. I’m really thankful that the president, Antonio Caliendo, decided to include us in this award. This is what we need to make women’s football grow and I’m really proud to become the first woman to win it.

Is it what women’s football needs to be more visible?

Definitely, I think this is a big step forward because if you want to make it as equal as possible, you need to be able to take these steps all the time. Having a Golden Foot Award for women makes us going in the right direction.

It’s all about having people that believe in the product and that includes us. For me, football has no gender and we need to keep investing in women’s football to allow it to grow. We have seen in the last couple of years that our sport has made a big step forward. It will only keep growing as long as people will invest in it. The more girls can train, have a career in football and make a living out of it, the better the sport will develop.

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What are the next steps women’s football should take in the coming years, according to you?

We need to keep investing. Make it more equal, with equal pay, equal prizes, equal pitches, equal staff…

All of this matters because if we can give better resources to young girls, allow them to focus only on football and not on finding a job to live. A lot of players today still have jobs beside their careers because we are far from equal football.

If we have more players spending time playing football without having to have a part-time job, the final product can only get better. 

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We are just a few months away from the Women’s World Cup that will take place in Australia and New Zealand this summer. Four years ago, you made it to the semi-finals to finally win the third place against England. What are your goals for this 2023 edition?

Our ambition is always to win. I think that we have the team to do it — we have great players and a staff that always prepare us to the maximum, regardless who we are playing against.

The difference now is that we have more pressure, people are expecting us since we have been doing really well in the last competitions. We won the bronze medal four years ago and the silver medal at the Olympics.

Obviously there is still one medal colour missing, so we hope we can make it to the top this summer. We’ll give our everything.

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Sweden will face Argentina, Italy and South Africa in the group stage. What was your reaction when you saw the draw?

You can’t underestimate any team because women’s football has been growing a lot in the last few years. Now, you see national teams like that of Argentina, with really talented and technical players.

We, in Sweden, are more famous for our physical way of playing. There are just different kinds of football and I think you should never make the mistake to underestimate anyone.

We will go into every game with the biggest respect for our opponent and that’s what you need to do if you want to win. I have a lot of respect for Argentina, South Africa and Italy.

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