Football is definitely the most popular sport in Sweden with more than 240,000 licensed players, among them 56,000 women. The history of Swedish football goes all the way back in 1870's, when football came to Sweden. This game was exercised by gymnastics clubs, and it was an inspiration from England and Scotland. Swedish football is managed by Swedish Football Association, which was founded in 1904. This association organizes football leagues for both men and women. The first Swedish international club match was played in 1890, while the first football game with modern FIFA rules was played in 1892.
Swedish football league system
The first Swedish football league was won by Orgryte. There is also the Swedish Cup, which was established in 1941 and is usually played from spring to autumn; that is April to October. The Football league system in Sweden consists of 276 teams in 22 leagues which are divided into 5 levels.
Level 1 consists of 16 clubs and is known as Allsvenskan, while level two is known as Superettan also with 16 teams. The last two teams at the bottom of the Allsvenskan league table, at the end of the season are relegated to Superettan league; while the last third team plays a play-off against the third best team of Superettan league. The best two teams in Superettan are automatically promoted to play in the Allsvenskan.
Swedish football clubs
IFK Göteborg and Malmö FF are the most popular, rivalry, and successful clubs in Sweden. IFK is based in Gothenburg and was founded in 1904. This club has won 18 national championship titles, 2 UEFA cups titles, and 5 national cup titles. They won their first Allsvenskan in 1934 season. After they won a surprising championship in 1969, IFK Göteborg was relegated to Superettan in the following season, where they stayed for 3 seasons. From the beginning of the 2009 season, IFK Göteborg plays their home matches in their newly built home ground Gamla Ullevi Stadium. Their home jersey colors are white and blue.
Malmö FF is based in Malmö, with their home ground being Swedbank Stadion. The club was formed in February 1910 and has won 16 national championship titles and 14 national cup titles, which makes them the most successful club in terms of trophies in Swedish football. The club jersey colors are sky blue shirts, white shorts and sky blue socks while playing at home, while away jersey consists of red and white striped shirts and black shorts. Their main rivals are Helsingborgs IF, IFK Malmö, and IFK Göteborg.
Sweden national football team
Sweden's national football team home ground is Rasunda Stadium in Stockholms län. They made their first world cup appearance in 1934, where they reached quarter finals where they lost 1-2 to Germany. Since then, Sweden national team has made 11 appearances in the FIFA world cup and 4 European championships. They finished as the runners up in 1958 world cup tournament, and second runners up in 1950 and 1994 world cup championships.
The Sweden national football team won a gold medal in the 1948 summer Olympics, and bronze in 1924 and 1952. Their best accomplishment in UEFA Euro championship was in 1992, where they reached the semi finals. Their head coach is Erik Hamren who was appointed after Sweden failed to qualify the group stage in the 2010 FIFA world cup, replacing the then head coach Lars Lagerback, who quit after the tournament.
Greatest soccer players in Sweden
Sweden hosts quite a number of great and successful football players, among them being Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was born in October 3 1981. Ibrahimovic began his football career at Malmö FF in the late 90's, before he was signed by Ajax. He scored 16 goals in Malmö with 40 appearances. After Ajax, Ibrahimovic played for Juventus from 2004 to 2006, then in Internazionale, Barcelona and his current club, AC Milan.
Karl Fredrik Ljungberg also known as Freddie is another great Swedish footballer who was born in 16 April 1977. He plays as a right winger and was the captain for Swedish national team, until he announced his international football retirement after UEFA Euro 2008. Ljungberg started his football career at Halmstad, where he scored 10 goals after 79 appearances. In 1998 he signed for Arsenal club of England, before moving to West Ham united, then to Seattle Sounders FC, Chicago Fire, Celtic, and then to his current club Shimizu S-Pulse of Japan. Ljungberg won 2 premier league titles with arsenal.
Henrik Larsson is another great Sweden player born in September 20 1971. He started his soccer career at Högaborgs BK club, and then signed for Helsingborg in 1992. From there, he moved to Feyenoord, then to Celtic, Barcelona and then back to Helsingborg. After that he joined Manchester United on a loan spell between January and March 2007. He later announced his football retirement on 20 October 2009, and he is the current manager of Landskrona BolS club. Other great Swedish footballers include: Roger Magnusson, Patrik Andersson, Tomas Brolin and Glenn Hysen.
Sweden football stadiums
Sweden has a current tally of 45 national stadiums. Ullevi stadium is located in Gothenburg and was built for the 1958 FIFA world cup. This stadium is the biggest in Sweden with a capacity of 43,000 seats. It has hosted several tournaments including: UEFA Cup Winners' cup in 1983, UEFA Cup final in 2004, and UEFA Euro 1992.
Swedbank Stadion often known simply as Stadion is located in Malmö and is also among the biggest stadiums in Sweden with a capacity of 24,000. This stadium was opened in 2009 replacing Malmö Stadion and remains the home ground for Malmö FF. It has hosted some major tournaments among them; the 2009 UEFA under-21 Championship. Other big stadiums include: Rasunda Stadium which is the home ground of the Sweden national football team, with a capacity of 36,608, and Gamla Ullevi, the home ground IFK Göteborg club which has a capacity of 18,800 seats. Among the stadiums which are still under construction is Swedbank Arena which will provide a capacity of 50,000, making it the biggest stadium in Sweden. Others include Stockholmsarenan at Stockholm city and Myresjöhus Arena. These stadiums are estimated to be ready by 2012.