Chelsea Women’s central defender, Magdalena Eriksson, is set to feature in her first ever Women’s World Cup for Sweden tomorrow.
Eriksson has established herself as a regular in Sweden’s starting XI after making her senior debut against France in 2014. Before then, she was part of the victorious squad who won gold at the 2012 Under-19s European Championships. The 25-year-old also played her part in the Swedes’ success at the 2016 Rio Olympics when they clinched silver.
At the 2017 Euros, Eriksson and her country, who are ranked ninth, reached the quarter-final stage and she discussed all things World Cup with us…
How excited are you to be going to the World Cup?
‘Yeah I’m really excited, it’s going to be my first World Cup, I’ve played in the Olympics and played in the Euros but I haven’t played a World Cup.
‘The way that everyone talks about this tournament it feels like it’s going to be the biggest so far in women’s football, so I’m really excited to be part of that.’
What does it mean to be selected?
‘It’s actually one of the first tournaments where I’m starting to actually feel more senior, like taking more responsibility and being one of the leaders in the team which I really like, so I hope I can step up to that and take that role in France.
‘It just means everything to me to represent my country and hopefully the whole of Sweden will be behind us and watch us at home because it is a massive tournament.’
How big is the hype back in Sweden?
‘It is really big, there is a lot of coverage. I feel like other countries are catching up, like England, the way the presented their squad. But I still feel like women’s football in Sweden is really big and popular. There is nothing to watch in June so I think people will watch us and I think that will be really big.’
Who do you think the favourites are?
‘I think the obvious favourites are the USA, they are just a massive football nation and they are ranked no.1. But I feel like there are loads of countries not far behind them that could end up winning it, it’s very open. There are eight to 10 countries that have the qualities to win the World Cup.
‘England has a really good team, they have good goalkeepers, good defenders, good midfielders and forwards, they have a complete squad. France as well has a really good team too and if this is the year for them they could go all the way.’
What do you make of the teams in your group?
‘Our group is quite divided because us and the USA are really good and then Chile and Thailand aren’t as experienced. But it’s still going to be tough because we’re playing against countries that are not in Europe which is also different. None of the teams in our group are from Europe and we’ve never played Thailand or Chile so that’s always hard.
‘I think we have a good chance of at least getting out the group and into the play-offs.’
Are your family and friends coming to support you?
‘Yes my mum, dad and sister are watching, my girlfriend and her family are coming too.’
Will you be taking any home comforts?
‘We have a chef with us who will be cooking a lot of Swedish stuff and then we always bring a type of bread in Sweden that we like.
‘I’m going to bring my own pillow because I’m very picky with pillows because my neck gets really sore but other than that just books and my iPad.’
Favourite memory playing with the national team and watching?
‘Well I followed the last World Cup where Sweden didn’t do that well, but then I have really good memories watching the World Cup in 2011 when Sweden won the bronze medal in Germany. I just started playing professionally and I was in Sweden’s youth team and that really motivated me to be there one day, so that’s a memory as a supporter.
‘The whole Olympics was a great memory because for me it shows that we actually have it in us to reach that far in a tournament – we knocked out the US and Brazil, we have the quality in our squad and it’s good memories to look back on.’