In this post we summarize the Swedish sports year 2017. Despite being a so-called ‘mid year’ without major Olympic or soccer tournaments, we have been able to enjoy several exciting competitions.
Gold in The Bandy World Championships
Sweden hosted the Bandy World Cup in 2017. The host nation advanced to the playoffs through three straight victories (against Russia, Finland and Kazakhstan) in the group stage. Germany was defeated by 34 (!) – 6 in the quarterfinal while Norway was defeated by 17-2 in the semifinal. The final game was another matchup against Russia. After the first half, Russia had a 3-1 lead. Sweden however managed to change the game in the second half and won 4-3. The deciding goal came in the first additional minute in the second half.
Nordic World Ski Championships
Sweden got four medals in the cross-country skiing world championships in Lahti, Finland. Unfortunately, no golds. Charlotte Kalla got a bronze in Skiathlon and a silver in 10-kilometer classic skiing. Sweden got another silver in the ladies 4 x 5 km relay and a bronze medal in the men’s 4 x 10 km relay. We hope for additional, more precious medals in the 2018 Olympic Games.
Ice Hockey World Championships
Last time the ‘Three Crowns’ won the World Championships was in 2013 when the brothers Sedin reinforced the team in the playoffs. In 2017, head coach Rikard Grönborg got a lot of reinforcements from the National Hockey League and Sweden could put a highly competitive team on the ice, with players like Henrik Lundqvist, Nicklas Bäckström and William Nylander. Sweden finished third in the group stage, after losses against Team United States and Russia. In the quarterfinal, Switzerland, was defeated 3-1. Our Nordic rivals from east Finland were defeated 4-1 in the semifinal. In the final, the toughest possible opponent, Canada, awaited. Team Canada was looking to extend the a golden streak with a third straight gold medal in the World Championships. That did not happen. Sweden played a disciplined game of hockey and after full time and overtime, the score was 1-1. Henrik Lundqvist was untouchable in the shootout. The image of a happy Nylander who jumps into Lundqvist’s arms after the shootout is now a Swedish classic.
FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers
Equal to the Three Crowns, Sweden’s national team in football is probably the biggest exclamation mark in 2017. With opponents like the Netherlands and France in the qualification group, they managed to grab the second spot and advance to the a playoff qualifier against Italy. We have seen it before: A Swedish 4-4-2 perform miracles against big football nations. Italy fell heavily with 1-0 in the first match at Friends Arena, and then Sweden managed to get the 0-0 tie away. A true sensation by a anonymous Swedish team without ‘big’ names.
Manchester United won the final in the Europa League in Stockholm, but without injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, the big sensation in EL was during the 2017-18 season when the little team of Östersund qualified to the tournament and advanced to the playoffs. Arsenal with visit Jämtkraft Arena in Östersund for the Round of 32.
Swimming World Championships
In July, the Swimming World Championships were hosted in Budapest, Hungary. Sarah Sjöström won four medals for Sweden:
- 50 m butterfly: gold
- 100 m butterfly: gold
- 50 m freestyle: gold
- 100 m freestyle: silver.
- Sweden gained a bronze in the Alpine World Cup in Switzerland.
- Britta Johansson Norgren finally won the ladies Vasalopp!
- Daniel Ståhl won the silver medal in discus throw at the 2017 IIAF World Championships.