In interviews after their 2-0 defeat to England, Andreas Granqvist, Emil Forsberg and the other Swedish players gave a similar message. They were disappointed, feeling England had got the better of them on the day, but they were also proud of what they had achieved.
And so they should be. Granqvist, in particular, has put in amazing performances at this World Cup.
After the quarter-final match, Granqvist joined three other of our top five ranked players (all three from Brazil) on the journey home. His defence and his power driving the team forward remains something he should be proud of. He is the foundation on which Sweden were built.
There has been a lot of debate about Marcus Berg. For many fans it is the misses which count against him, but from a long-term statistical point of view it is the chances he created that are most important. Berg now tops ‘shots and goals’ for Sweden, leading even penalty taker Granqvist, though the former hasn’t scored a single goal.
This may be of little solace to Sweden fans now, but Berg’s stats mean that if we rerun the World Cup a thousand times, then in most of those simulations Berg would have scored two goals from open play.
Berg might not have the finishing skills of Zlatan, but he certainly had some bad luck during the tournament. And that bad luck was highlighted yesterday with the two saves by Pickford that prevented him from scoring.
The Sweden players were not blaming bad luck for their exit, though. And nor should they. Berg’s chances added up to a total of 17.7% expected goals, with the additional attempts by Victor Claesson (created by Berg) providing a further 13.3% of an expected gaol.
England’s back three defence effectively shut Sweden out. Once Harry Maguire’s corner went in and certainly after Dele Alli’s second, it was always going to be hard for the Swedes.
Our tournament ratings over the five matches Sweden played have Grannqvist top (of course), but also rate Claesson, Berg, Forsberg and Lindelöf. While Grannqvist stood out, this was a team performance, with defenders, midfielders and strikers all contributing to a top quality campaign.
The statistics back up the Swedish players in being very proud of their achievements.