SwedenCoach: Tomas Axnér
At the last three major events, Sweden finished fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and fifth at the 2021 IHF Women's World Championship. They extended their streak of good placements with another fifth place at the EHF EURO 2022, where they only lost to Norway and Denmark – the two teams who made it to the final.
Norway and Denmark are also the two countries with which Sweden will co-host this World Championship in December. It’s the first time that three nations will co-host this tournament and the first time in history for Sweden. They will host the preliminary round and the main round in Helsingborg and Gothenburg, while the team will make their camp in Ystad already on 23 November.
Since Axnér took over in March 2020, his team finished in the top 5 at all competitions. No wonder he hopes for more at the upcoming World Championship on home ground. A look at the Swedish road to the quarter-finals lifts his confidence: In the preliminary round, they will meet Croatia, Senegal and the PR of China.
“We met Croatia at the last European Championship and won against them. The European teams are always tough. Senegal is one of the best African teams with a lot of players playing in the French league. I don’t know a lot about the PR of China but we will find out about them when we play them,” stated Axnér on the website of the Swedish handball national team.
The strong Swedish squad of young and experienced players will start their journey in Gothenburg, playing at the Scandinavium Arena, where the men’s side already at the beginning of the year enjoyed a great atmosphere at the 2023 IHF Men's World Championship.
Axnér, who has a contract until summer 2026, will enjoy and share the World Championship on home ground with his daughter and left back Tyra Axnér, who already was part of the team at the EHF EURO 2022.
Other players to watch are the likes of Swedish Female Handball Player of the Year 2022 Jamina Roberts, line player Linn Blohm and right wing Nathalie Hagman. Hagman is one of the most experienced players in the squad who just seems to get better. The 32-year-old, playing for the Romanian club SCM Râmnicu Vâlcea, was the top scorer of the 2021 IHF Women's World Championship with 71 goals and confirmed her excellent form by being the top scorer for Sweden at the EHF EURO 2022 with 43 goals.
To aim high good goalkeepers are more than crucial and luckily the Swedish team got two very good ones between their posts. Johanna Bundsen and Jessica Ryde have become quite the team over the last three major events and will play an important part in advancing to the main round and through to the quarter-finals. While Bundsen returned to the Swedish club IK Sävehof in 2022, Ryde switched to the French club Nantes this summer after winning the EHF European League with her former club Ikast Håndbold.
Before throwing off the World Championship, Axnér and his team will test twice against Germany in late November, just in time to be fully prepared for their opening match against the PR of China on Friday 1 December.
Key players: Jamina Roberts (left back), Linn Blohm (line player), Nathalie Hagmann (right wing)
Qualification for DEN/NOR/SWE 2023: Hosts
History in tournament: 1957: 8th, 1990: 13th, 1993: 6th, 1995: 11th, 2001: 8th, 2009: 13th, 2011: 9th, 2015: 9th, 2017: 4th, 2019: 7th, 2021: 5th
Group at DEN/NOR/SWE 2023: Group A (Sweden, Croatia, PR of China, Senegal)