Jonna Andersson and Sweden kick start their 2019 Women’s World Cup campaign today against Chile. The defender previews her first appearance in the tournament…
Despite France 2019 being Andersson’s debut World Cup, the 26-year-old has excelled at international level. Prior to breaking into the senior squad, she won the European Under-19s championship in 2012 and four years later, she was part of Sweden’s Olympic Silver success in Rio. She also featured at Euro 2017 in The Netherlands.
How excited are you to be going to the World Cup?
‘I am really excited, it’s going to be my first World Cup, although I have been in the Olympics and the Euros.
‘Just to be in the World Cup is going to be exciting because it is one of the biggest tournaments I can be in with my national team.’
What does it mean to be selected?
‘It’s an honour to play for your own country, to play for my national team is just a dream. Of course playing in front of big crowds is great too.’
Who do you think the favourites are?
‘I hope it’s going to be a tough tournament with a lot of favourites. But France are playing at home so they should be the favourites. Germany and the US are really good, so I hope it’s going to be tight with new teams coming through – it’s going to be really exciting.
‘From previous tournaments you expect France, Germany and USA to do well but there are now a lot of teams who will be competing this year.’
What do you make of the teams in your group?
‘I’m not going to say that it’s an easy group because in tournaments anything can happen, but for us, if we play as good as we can then we should beat both Chile and Thailand.
‘But as I said before, you never know in these tournaments, however those are two countries that we should beat. Our last game is against the USA which is going to be a tough one, but hopefully we will know what’s going on with the points and group standings by then.
‘I think all three games will be hard and different because their style of play will differ from each other.’
Traditionally Sweden have a reputation of being a strong national team within women’s football, what do you think your chances are overall?
‘I think we have a good chance, if we play at the level we know we can play at, which we’ve seen against Germany, England and France, then we can be within the top teams at the World Cup.
‘It’s always hard to say before, but I believe we can reach the top level we are capable of this summer and actually try to go as far as we can.’
What is the interest like back home in the build-up to the World Cup?
‘When we have big tournaments, the attention is always big back home with the fans and the media. I hope we can get some fans to France to support us during the tournament. But even if we don’t have a big Swedish crowd, I know and I’m sure that we will have a lot of support from home.
‘We will have our matches televised on two different channels which is really good. I think that’s why it is going to be big back home because people can watch us easily.’
Are your family and friends going to France to support you?
‘My mum and dad are coming to the Thailand game in Nice, but I think if we go further I hope that they will come back to support me in other games. They haven’t been to a World Cup so they are looking forward to it.’
Do you have a favourite memory from a major tournament?
‘Although I didn’t play many minutes, it would probably be the Olympics because it was my first tournament and I had been in the national senior team for just a few months. We came second place at the Olympics, at my first tournament was amazing. The atmosphere was great, I think the World Cup is probably different to the Olympics so it will be fun to experience the differences.’
‘Another good memory of mine was winning the gold medal with the youth national team in 2012.’
Sweden v Chile kicks off today at 5pm UK time with coverage on the BBC.