Sweden sitting pretty in French Atlantic chateau

The Swedes will find out which teams they face at the draw on Saturday and their fans will begin the scramble for tickets, flights and hotel rooms, but the squad are already sorted.


Players’ manager Marcus Allback, a former international forward who scored 30 goals in 74 games for his country and played at three European Championships.

“I know what the lads want and what they don’t want, so in that way it’s a good thing that I am involved,” Allback told Reuters.

In his role with the national team, Allback acts as a go-between between the coaching staff, the Swedish FA and the players, and one of his main tasks is to make sure the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic are happy with the facilities.

“We got a catalogue from UEFA with around a hundred hotels in it, with training facilities connected to all of them,” he explained.

“You go through it and filter it down to about 20 or 30. Then you visit them and pretty quickly you’re down to 10 or 15.”

Where Sweden’s matches will be played makes little difference to the choice of base camp.

“You fly in the day before the game to the city where the match is being played and fly out again directly afterwards,” Allback said.

The 42-year-old said it was important for the players to have freedom to move around and to be entertained.

“It’s almost easier to say what we don’t want, which is a high-rise business hotel in the middle of a city. Instead, we like somewhere a little bit outside, preferably where there is water. We like to have a players’ lounge too.”

Allback, who spent his leisure time playing the odd round of golf and watching movies and TV series with room mate Anders Svensson during his international playing days, has already started to focus on his next task.

“The big countries are very fast — a month ago I was in Russia looking at places for the 2018 World Cup and seven countries had already booked. It happens very quickly,” he said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)