The Swedish national team has lived in the shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for as long as I can remember. I began photographing the Swedish national team at end of 2012 when Friends Arena first opened. Already back then the national team belonged to Zlatan.
He the biggest player on the team and he was indisputably larger than the team. He was the singular driving force of the national team. Almost nothing occurred without some form of input from Zlatan. From the players selected to the food that was served.
So what happens now? What does the national team look like going forward? How quickly can a team rebuild when they lose the player that defines it?
For some reason Sweden had not even played a single friendly since their elimination from the Euro. Gauging them seemed pretty impossible. They could be a complete disaster or they could turn up and surprise you. There was no way of knowing and so I decided I would focus on the Netherlands. I placed with the Netherlands attacking towards me in the first half with the idea that I could switch sides at half time or remain where I was if Sweden impressed.
Unfortunately it did not work out so well for me. Even though the Netherlands were the stronger side it was Sweden who took the lead thanks to fantastic goal from Marcus Berg. At halftime I decided to take a chance and stay put. I thought that maybe having a lead Sweden could hold it or double up on a counter attack. While they had their chances in the second it was the Netherlands who were the better side and they eventually equalized through Wesley Sneijder. They probably should have taken all 3 points but a last minute goal from Bas Dost was called off by referee Daniele Orsato.
And so it begins Sweden steals a point against Netherlands. The post-Zlatan era is underway.
Thanks for stoping by!