Vital win over Denmark

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The new year started in the best possible way with three points against Denmark on a pitch which was far from what a football pitch should be. The game ended with a tight 2-1 after a winning goal by Erik E.

Kraainem, Thursday 12th January, 2017:
The fall was though for Sweden FC; merely one win in ten league games was far from the ambition at the start of the season. But a new year offered new opportunities, with the first one being Denmark at the infamous pitch of Kraainem. When arriving to the facilities it first looked very promising as the terrible grass pitch from previous years had been replaced by a good artificial pitch (football should be played on real grass, but there are limits). However, the promising conditions were soon changed since it became clear that the game was not gonna be played on the artificial pitch but at the remaining grass pitch of Kraaniem which was in a very, very poor conditions. And the ongoing rain did not help. Nevertheless, the game had to be played despite the pitch looking like a muddy paddock.

Sweden FC started the game well by putting pressure on the Danish team which not surprisingly had problems controlling the ball and getting it up front. Some semi-chances were created but the conditions made it difficult to finish off the attacks. After about 10-15 minutes the Danes started to make the their first offensive tries by making good runs behind the Swedish defense line which had some problems in deciding in when to fall back or go forward. The game went back-and-forth as long balls was the best (and only) way to get the the ball into the attack. One long ball ended up on the Swedish left wing where Rasmus after some scrimmage got the ball under control and managed to get a shoot. And what a shoot! The ball went in a perfect way over the Danish keeper and into the back of the net: 1-0.

 
After the goal Denmark took more and more initiative but without getting a goal. Luck, good defending by Arvid, Jimmy and Alex and the bad condition of the pitch made it look like Sweden FC was gonna go to halftime with the lead. But then it happened, the Danish midfield was left without pressure and managed to put a great ball over the Swedish defense who did not fall back. The Danish striker ended up one-on-one with Arvid and made no mistake. And with only one minute left of the first half it was equalized: 1-1.
The feeling was a bit sour during halftime due to the late equalizer but 35 minutes still remained and it was just to fight as hard as possible in order to get the three points. Due to the weather and pitch condition it was the type of game where it would feel absolutely terrific to win but the total opposite to lose.

 
If the first half from time to time was a bit of a parody then the second half became even more like one. Basically the game was about kicking the ball forward and hope for the best. Running with the ball was almost impossible. The Danes were slightly better at this type of playing and came fairly close at scoring but most of the time the ball stopped in the big puddle that was in front of the Swedish goal. The puddle also made it difficult for Arvid in goal but he managed well. Sweden FC did not have the ball as much as in the first half but still managed to create some chances but as with the Danes it was difficult to get really close.

 
But then with 9 minutes left Sweden FC got at free-kick far down on the right wing. Martin took it and made a perfect delivery to Erik E who won the challenge and headed in 2-1. After the goal it was just one thing to do for the Swedish team: defend the lead. And that was what was done. In the last 9 minutes plus additional time the Danes came with all they had but all they managed to create were goal-kicks for Sweden. It was around 10 Swedish goal-kicks in the last 9 minutes of the came and after each one it was mud+wrestling for the ball which the Danes were successful in but not enough to be able to get real close to score. A header towards own goal by Markus which went just above the crossbar and a good shooting opportunity from the area around the penalty spot where the best chances but the score remained. 2-1 to Sweden FC and three very nice points to bring home.

 
At the moment Sweden FC is on the 14th place in the league. With only two points from the 11th place a place in the top-12 is still a very realistic target. Next game will be played already this Sunday (January 15th) against Estonia. Hopefully three more points will be taken then.

 
Man of the match was Arvid for his solid goalkeeping and for keeping his cool despite the extreme circumstances.


Sweden FC (4-4-2): Arvid – Jimmy, Andreas, Markus, Alex – Björn, Martin, Erik E, Ingrid – Daniel, Rasmus. Khaled, Yuri.

Goal(s): Rasmus, Erik E

Yellow card(s): –15965081_1275595375844685_7514759299521211844_n


Written by: Markus Hjort, 2017-01-13


Tough loss against Italy

After taken the first win of the season in the previous game against France (2-0) it was a confident Swedish team who took on the Italian team, but again Sweden FC left the pitch with zero points. There are however some great potential in the team and its players. And the season is long and a place in the play-offs is certainly is something that is far from impossible.

Stade Communal d’Ixelles, Sunday 20th November 2016:

It had been a windy day in Brussels but it was nowhere to be seen when the game was started. However, it had been replaced by rain which was going on non-stop throughout the game. No linesmen showed up for the game which later was shown to have consequences, really bad behavior for whoever was responsible. The game got underway anyway and Sweden FC started of pretty good.

After just seven or eight minutes the Swedish team put good pressure which stressed the Italians to mistakes. First a corner where Markus was close to score but the timing in the finish was not there. Minutes after Erik E put good pressure on an Italian defender who with a pass put Ingrid one-on-one with the keeper. She made no mistake and scored in her debut, 1-0! The celebration was not long since Italy shortly after equalized after passivity in the Swedish defense. Arvid saved the first attempt but could do nothing on the rebound, 1-1.

The Italian team did not only equalize, they did also take the lead shortly after their first goal. After a fast counterattack on their left wing the ball found its way to their striker who had gotten away from his marking. He made no mistake and put the ball in the back of the net from a position few meters behind the penalty spot, 1-2. The goal had a similar effect on the Swedish team as the first goal of the game had on the Italians. Just one minute after 1-2 came 2-2 and it was a beautiful piece of work. The ball ended up at the feet of Fouad and with real tiki-taka play with Hassan the ball got through to Erik E who did no mistake. 2-2 and this remained until half-time.

In the second half the Swedish stamina could not keep up. The Italians found big spaces in the middle and with a somewhat passive Swedish defense both 2-3 and 2-4 came. The 2-3-goal was clearly offside, but since there were no linesmen at the game the referee did not call it. It was not at that moment the game was lost, but it certainly did not help. In retrospect, the defense was too passive throughout the game and the midfield lost stamina its positioning in the second half for it to be a good evening for Sweden FC. However, some good moments were there. Ingrid did a great first game and from time to time a good and fast passing game could be seen from time to time. So if the team can be a bit more focused in defense and play a bit smarter in the midfield, then the points will come.

At the moment Sweden FC is on the 17th place in the league which is obviously not great, but it is a tight table and only 2 points up to the Netherlands who holds the last play-off spot. So there are still great chances for Sweden FC to repeat last season’s performance and make it to the play-offs.

(Wo)man of the match was Ingrid for her fighting spirit, good passing and goal.


Sweden FC (4-4-2): Arvid – Jimmy, Andreas, Markus, Alex – Yuri, Fouad, Erik O, Ingrid – Hassan, Erik E. Khaled, Daniel.

Goal(s): Ingrid, Erik

Yellow card(s): Hassan


Written by: Markus Hjort, 2016-11-22

 


3-3 against Croatia after a dramatic ending

After a tough start of the season with only 1 point after three games (2-2 against Turkey; 0-3 against Bulgaria and 0-2 against Poland) it was an important game against Croatia coming up. It ended 3-3 after not-so-great defending but with an excellent fighting spirit and a late equalizer by Gabi. Sweden FC will have to continue fighting for their first win of the season.

Stade Chazal, Sunday 9th October 2016:

It was a sunny afternoon and Sweden FC was out to get their first victory for the season. Two players, Fatih in goal and Staffan up front, were making their debut for Sweden FC and Daniel was making his first game of the season, other than that the team was a quite experienced team that started the game. The chances were also looking good beforehand as Croatia was a team Sweden FC beat last season.

The game was started carefully by Sweden FC which Croatia took the advantage of. 1-0 came early as a result of slightly sloppy defending which was not distinctive enough. After that Sweden FC managed to step it up a bit by putting pressure on the Croatian defense line, it resulted in some chances but no goals. Instead an undistinctive performance in the Swedish defense and a distinctive ditto in the Croatian attack meant 2-0. It was not a fair result in half-time looking on how the two teams had played all over the pitch, but the difference in defensive performance between the two teams made it as it was.

A more prepared and fighting Sweden FC came out to the second half. The defense played more solid and the ball was kept better within the Sweden FC team. The hard work on the midfield started to pay off, and as a result of that Erik stole the ball from one of their defenders and fooled the rest of them before he finished it off with a solid right foot finish. 2-1! The Sweden FC tactics were now changed to a 4-4-2 formation and the pressure was constant on the Croatians. But time was about to run out.

With 5 minutes left Sweden FC went even more offensive by playing 3-5-2 to try to make a last effort for the equalizing goal. And the goal also came. After a free-kick the ball went into the Croatian penalty area and Rasmus got the ball in a good position and would have scored unless a Croatian defender would have used his arm to save the ball. The linesman luckily saw this, since the referee didn’t, and the referee was good to listen to him and awarded a penalty. Jimmy took it with determination and put it high in the middle of net. 2-2 and the game was practically over, at least that was what it seemed.

But the game was far from over. With 4 minutes to Croatia got a good opportunity after a corner but Fatih made a good save and it was still 2-2. With 3 minutes left the Sweden FC defense cleared the ball and pushed up the team. Croatia won the ball and put it forward and despite three Croatian players being offside and the linesman waving the flag the game was allowed to continue. A Croatian attacker took the opportunity and scored. It felt like being robbed and after a good comeback it looked like the game was again over with 2 minutes to go. But again, it was not. Since the Croatian tried to kill time by doing a lot a substitutions the referee added a few more minutes and those was used by Martin to win a free-kick on the left wing. Gabi executed it perfectly with his right foot and put it directly into the back of the net! Again a dramatic equalizer and the game ended 3-3.

Man of the match was Eric for his fighting spirit, box-to-box running and beautiful goal.


Sweden FC (4-5-1): Fatih – Jimmy, Tobias, Markus, Alex – Gabi, Gordy, Martin, Erik, Daniel – Staffan. Rasmus, Arvid, Khaled, Björn.

Goal(s): Erik, Jimmy (P), Gabi

Yellow card(s): Staffan


Written by: Markus Hjort, 2016-10-10


2-2 against Turkey in the first game of the 2016/2017 season

The first match of the season gave the first point of the season. Turkey put up a good fight and the game ended 2-2 after a late equalizer by the Sweden FC.

Stade Georges Petre, Wednesday 14th September 2016:

After a long break – last game was played on 20th April, almost 5 months earlier – it was time to start the 2016-2017 Bcl Euroleague season. Turkey were on the other side and the game was played on a pitch not hosting any games in previous years. The fact that the pitch hadn’t been part of Bxl Euroleague became clear already before the game started. The lights on the artificial pitch that was meant to be used did not work so the game was moved to the neighbouring pitch which had real grass (which football is supposed to be played on), bad light (but working), and extreme field measures compared to the artificial pitches normally used. With the temperature being about 27 ºC at kick-off and only eleven players available it was not gonna be an easy game all things considered.

The big field measures together with the bad lights made had its impacts directly. Big spaces meant that a good passing game could be made and the bad lights made it very dangerous once a long ball came towards one of the defences. Turkey managed the conditions better during the first couple of minutes but than Sweden FC managed to get the ball on the ground and played well with Gordy and Martin as the motors in the centre of the field. 1-0 also came shortly after Sweden FC had started to take control. A ball cutting through the Turkish defence made Camilo one-on-one with the keeper and in his first game for Sweden FC he made no mistake; 0-1. After the goal Turkey managed to create a few chances but Jimmy kept a clean sheet and the Swedish team still controlled the ball most of the time in the first half. Both teams had opportunities to score with Turkey hitting the post and Erik missed a golden chance alone with the goalie from the half line but Sweden FC kept the lead until half time.

During the break the plan was simple. Continue with the passing game and use the size of the pitch which had been successful during the first half. However, that was not what happened during the first minutes of the second half. Stressed passes and some poor decisions led to two Turkish goals during the first five minutes of second half. What had looked quite solid was now a fight for getting an equalizer. Sweden FC also started to play better after again; keeping control of the ball and threaten the Turkish defence. Corners and semi-chances were created, some really good chances too, but the ball didn’t find the way into the net. Turkey had some chances on counter attacks but most of the game now belonged to Sweden FC who, with only eleven men, showed very good team spirit and that they really did not want to lose the first game of the season. And as usual, if you keep trying you get your reward: with three minutes to go Sweden FC got a corner which Gabi stepped up to take, and he took it! Directly in goal close to the first post. 2-2! Not much happened after that and when the referee blew the whistle it was two tired teams who shared the points.

Man of the match was Gabi for his fighting spirit, sensitive right foot and point-saving goal.

Next game is on Sunday against Bulgaria, the team who knocked out Sweden FC in last year’s play-off. So it is time for revenge!


Sweden FC (4-4-2): Jimmy – Arturo, Fitz, Markus, Alex – Gabi, Gordy, Martin, Erik – Yuri, Camilo.

Goal(s): Camilo, Gabi

Yellow card(s): Camilo


Written by: Markus Hjort, 2016-09-16


The season 2015/2016 is over for Sweden FC

The season 2015/2016 is now over. It came to an end after two losses, first against Bulgaria in the BXL Euroleague Play-offs (1-2; 2-3 on aggregate) and then against Spain in the quarter final of the BXL Euroleague Cup.

After 1-1 in the first leg against Bulgaria, Sweden FC had a good opportunity of advancing through to the quarter finals but failed to do so. Sweden FC had a strong side with for example both top scorers (Sigve and Emmanuel) available so it was with a positive spirit the game was kicked off. That feeling soon got lost; Bulgaria scored 0-1 on a free-kick after just a few minutes and after that the game was a struggle.

Sweden FC was clearly the better team in the first half and created several chances against the defending Bulgarians (who now had a 2-1 aggregate lead). Five minute before half time the well-deserved equalizer came and it was the SFC top-scorer Sigve who scored. With the 1-1-goal and the chances created it was with a good spirit the tactics were discussed in the break.

If the first half was good, at least in terms of creating chances, the second half was terrible. The passing was not fast enough, the determination in front of goal was not there and the defense did not win the ball in the way that was needed. 1-1 remained and it looked like penalties were going to decide who was going through.  Then with two minutes left on the clock the Bulgarian goalkeeper put a long ball front, the Swedish central defense misjudged the ball and it came to a Bulgarian striker who placed it in the corner impossible for Arvid to catch. The game was over and the league season as well. An angriness and emptiness appeared, especially since the game was lost in the way it was. Losing on penalties would have felt more ok since that is partly a lottery, but in this way with missed chances, fairly poor play and a defensive mistake it just felt like shit. A lot of “what if” moments were sorely played up in the minds of the SFC players before they fell asleep in the evening after the game.

With some perspective it can be said that the season was clearly better than the last one where the play-offs was not even reached. Furthermore, Sweden FC has a solid group of players and can on a good day play even with any team in the league (see for example the games against UK, Poland and Romania).

As if the sore loss against Bulgaria was not enough, a few days later Sweden FC was also knocked out of the Cup. A 1-3 loss against Spain in the quarter final made the exit. Previously in this season’s cup games Sweden FC had skipped the first round due to good fair play ranking and then beating Estonia with 2-0 in the second round. As with the league also in this competition Sweden FC made it further than the previous season where the team got knocked out in the second round. So despite all the sad feelings it is worth to know that the trend that the team is in is a positive one. Hopefully this trend will continue next season!

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Wednesday 20th April 2016:

Bulgaria (h), second leg in first round of BXL Euroleague Play-offs – Stade Communal d’Auderghem

Score: 1-2 (1-1) [2-3 on aggregate]

Sweden FC (4-4-2): Arvid – Will, Markus, Jimmy, Gabi – Hannes, Martin, Erik, Cillian – Sigve, Emmanuel. Rasmus, Daniel, Yuri, Joy’s.

Goal(s): Sygve

Yellow card(s): N/A

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Sunday 24th April 2016:

Spain (a), quarter final of BXL Euroleague Cup – VUB

Score: 3-1 (1-0)

Sweden FC (N/A): Arvid, Björn, Gabi, Jean, Chris, Jimmy, Will, Martin, Erik, Yuri, Carlo, Jesper.

Goal(s): Emmanuel

Yellow card(s): N/A

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Written by: Markus Hjort, 2016-04-29


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