Hedvig Lindhal, who is departing Chelsea Women following the end of the WSL season after many successful years, will be featuring in her fourth Women’s World Cup tournament as Sweden’s goalkeeper.
The Scandinavian’s international career has been extraordinary having amassed over 150 caps for her country, making her the most capped goalkeeper in the history of Swedish football. Lindahl has high hopes that her nation will be among the elite countries this month.
How excited are you to be going to the World Cup?
‘Super excited, it feels really special this time around. I’ve been to the World Cup quite a few times, 2003 I went to my first one.
‘This feels special, not only because it’s my final one but also because I feel like we actually have a track record with this group. It’s not super unrealistic to think that we can be among the top countries.
‘We can win against anyone on any given day and Sweden can be a team to be reckoning with. A few of us have lots and lots of experience from these big tournaments and if we can share that with our younger peers and mix it with our young and enthusiastic players, then it will be good.’
And it will be more special because it is going to be your final one?
‘Probably, I’m going to give everything, I’m going to leave my mark and that’s what makes it so special.’
What do you think Sweden’s chances are?
‘I thinks it’s fine to be underdogs, looking back at our previous results, we have won against some good teams. We’re ranked ninth but it depends on who you face if you make it to the knock-out stages.
So what do you make of your group?
‘I feel like it’s a good way to enter this tournament, I don’t want to be arrogant and say that we will definitely go further because I know playing Chile, Thailand and the US will all be three very different games, different styles and different challenges.
‘We have to really do our job properly in each of these games, but I do feel looking at other groups, there are tougher ones. I feel like we have got an easier group on paper but we still have to perform well otherwise we are out.’
Most memorable moment?
‘The most recent memory is the Olympic final in 2016, but also when we managed to get bronze in 2011 Germany. My first World Cup Sweden got to the final and I was the third goalkeeper in that squad but I experienced that. If we can relive that moment and take Sweden to another World Cup final that would be amazing.
How long have you been the first-choice keeper?
‘Since 2005 I have been playing as no.1 except 2013 when we had the Euros at home because I had just recovered from an ACL injury.’
Are friends and family travelling?
‘My wife and kids haven’t decided, it would be nice if they could come to some games but it’s a long stretch for the kids.
‘I know some friends and family are coming, especially to the USA game – a lot of people want to come to that one.’
Is there much coverage over in Sweden?
‘I would say that there is a hype in Sweden, but compared to some other countries, like England, we’re not really on that level. But you can see that a lot of partners of the Swedish FA have decided to do campaigns. I feel like I have lots of media requests, so I guess it is starting to build up.’
Sweden’s opening group match takes place on 11 June against Chile, five days later they play Thailand and then face USA on 20 June, with whom they have been drawn into the same group in every World Cup since 2003.