A mix of rugged veterans and youthful talent makes today's Sweden a less dull side than in the late 1990s, and they travel to Euro 2004 hungry to avenge their golden-goal exit from the 2002 World Cup.
The step-by-step improvements made since they fell away badly soon after finishing third -- led by magic-touch trickster Tomas Brolin -- at the 1994 World Cup suggests that Sweden could make the last four in Portugal.
The Swedes conceded only three goals in the qualifiers, grabbing top spot in Group Four ahead of Latvia, Poland and Hungary, and their well-organised defence is a formidable challenge for any opponents.
Coaching duo Tommy Soderberg and Lars Lagerback have the luxury of choosing between four trustworthy central defenders -- Aston Villa's Olof Mellberg, Celtic's Johan Mjallby, Brondby's Andreas Jakobsson and Southampton's Michael Svensson -- in front of Andreas Isaksson, the towering Djurgarden goalkeeper who will be watched closely by many scouts in Portugal.
Two players stand out in a midfield more attack-oriented than anything Sweden have had since their 1950s heyday -- the tireless Fredrik Ljungberg has a great nose for goal and Kim Kallstrom possesses a thundering left-foot shot.
Up front Sweden are delighted their top scorer Henrik Larsson has gone back on his decision after the 2002 World Cup to retire from the national team. Sweden also have in their ranks one of Europe's most eye-catching young forwards, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The tall, 22-year-old Ajax Amsterdam striker with Brazil-quality ball control and spell-binding dribbling technique has netted seven times in 21 internationals.
Best performance: Semi-finals in 1992
1980 Did not qualify
1984 Did not qualify
1988 Did not qualify
1996 Did not qualify
2000 Round one
Goalkeepers: 1-Andreas Isaksson (Djurgarden), 12-Magnus Hedman (Ancona), 23-Magnus Kihlstedt (FC Copenhagen)
Defenders: 2-Teddy Lucic (Bayer Leverkusen), 3-Olof Mellberg (Aston Villa), 4-Johan Mjallby (Celtic), 5-Erik Edman (Heerenveen), 14-Alexander Ostlund (Hammarby), 13-Petter Hansson (Heerenveen), 15-Andreas Jakobsson (Brondby), 22-Erik Wahlstedt (Helsingborg)
Midfielders: 6-Tobias Linderoth (Everton), 7-Mikael Nilsson (Halmstad), 8-Anders Svensson (Southampton), 9-Fredrik Ljungberg (Arsenal), 16-Kim Kallstrom (Rennes), 17-Anders Andersson (Belenenses), 19-Pontus Farnerud (Racing Strasbourg), 21-Christian Wilhelmsson (Anderlecht)
Forwards: 10-Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Ajax Amsterdam), 11-Henrik Larsson (Celtic), 18-Mattias Jonson (Brondby), 20-Marcus Allback (Aston Villa)