Rubensson: Sweden want to set the record straight.
In an exclusive interview with Women’s Soccer United, Elin Rubensson underlined Sweden’s determination to continue their fine start to EURO 2017 qualifying.
The year 2015 has certainly been memorable in the life of Sweden international Elin Rubensson, with the versatile wide midfielder – also able to play at full-back or No10 – swapping long-time club FC Rosengård/LDB FC Malmö for Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC; making the cut for Pia Sundhage’s squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup; and playing all four of her country’s matches on Canadian soil.
In an exclusive chat with Women’s Soccer United, the fast-rising 22-year-old discussed her new life in Gothenburg, this summer’s Canada 2015 adventure, Sweden’s 100 per cent start to UEFA EURO 2017 qualifying and another triumph for former coach Calle Barrling.
Women’s Soccer United: Back in January you left FC Rosengård/LDB FC Malmö to join Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, with the intention of getting more first-team football ahead of the World Cup. How have you been enjoying life at your new club?
Elin Rubensson: I’ve had a great year in Gothenburg with a lot of playing time, which of course was the reason behind changing from Rosengård to Göteborg. We have played a few really good games this season and the away match against Rosengård [a 2-2 draw on 26 July] was especially memorable. I scored a goal and we were close to winning, but we conceded an equaliser right at the end. I was really happy with my performance and it was very nice to be back in Malmö.
WSU: You achieved your goal of being selected for the World Cup, and to top that started all four of Sweden’s games. Can you describe how it felt to represent your country at the biggest tournament in football?
ER: Obviously it was a fantastic experience and a dream come true to play at the World Cup. Playing in front of such big crowds was great and everything else that surrounded it made me feel honoured to be a part of the team and involved in the tournament. It’s sad that our team didn’t perform as well as we’d aimed for, but I learned a lot and I’m happy that I played in all the games. It’s a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life!
WSU: Sweden managed to qualify from a very tough group, before losing to a strong Germany team in the Round of 16. In your opinion, what are the most significant positives and negatives of Sweden’s performance overall?
ER: The game against USA [a 0-0 draw in their second Group D game] was really positive. We put in a great defensive performance and nearly scored a winning goal at the end of the game. In negative terms, we conceded a few easy goals and we had problems scoring at key moments in matches. We really need to improve our attacking play, across every area of the pitch.
WSU: You were tournament top scorer when Sweden won the European Under-19 title in 2012, and this time in Israel Stina Blackstenius repeated that feat. Have you played against her at club level or with her in the national team set-up?
ER: I have played against Stina in the league a few times and she is a strong and powerful forward who is really good in the box. If she continues like this she has every chance of becoming a really good player at senior international level.
WSU: After winning the European U-19 title with you in 2012, Calle Barrling has done it again this year. What do you think it is makes him such a good coach?
ER: For Calle, it’s important to get the whole group pulling together in the same direction, to get the maximum performance from each player. He’s got a clear vision of how he wants us to play and he puts a lot of focus on getting the details right. I think that he has proved again that he is a great coach.
WSU: One last question. You have been drawn in Group 4 of EURO 2017 qualifying alongside Denmark, Moldova, Poland and Slovakia. Do you think that Sweden will be stronger at the Netherlands 2017 than they were at the World Cup?
ER: Well, we’ve had a great start to qualifying with three wins in three, and managed to beat a good Denmark side [1-0 on 27 October] in a very tough game. I think that we have every chance of performing better at EURO 2017. Particularly because the players are very determined to set the record straight, after what happened at the World Cup.
UK-born but currently based in Spain, I’ve been covering men’s and women’s football for UEFA.com for several years, including trips to two Women’s U-19 European Championships