Sweden is back at the World Cup finals after a 12-year absence. The team coached by Janne Andersson are aiming to advance from a group that features world champions Germany, Mexico, and South Korea.
To do so, Sweden need to score. "337 minutes without a goal," said Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter a few days after the Swedish squad arrived at their base in Gelendzhik on the Black Sea. The headline summed up Sweden's dilemma, especially after Andersson decided not to ask Zlatan Ibrahimovic to come out of international retirement.
The goal drought has been a recurrent theme when Andersson and players have met the media. The coach has not publicly stated he is worried, saying the team has created "a lot of chances." Forward Marcus Berg, tipped as a starter, has also been quizzed. "I'm not dwelling on it," said Berg, who plays for Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The heat is another factor that the Swedish players will have to contend with in today's opening Group F game in Nizhny Novgorod against a South Korea side who will run and run.