The country of Sweden showed out in the city of Gothenburg on Monday to celebrate the national team’s World Cup bronze medal.
Sweden held off England, 2-1, in the bronze medal match Saturday in Nice, France.
Somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 fans came out to see the team, according to The Local Sweden, Express Sport and Swedish players on social.
It’s more than twice as many as showed up in 2011, when 10,000 came out to celebrate the nation’s second bronze medal. Sweden also won bronze in the inaugural World Cup in 1991 and finished as runner-up in 2003, the country’s best finish.
Kosovare Asllani, who scored Sweden’s opening goal of the third-place match in the 11th minute, shared her thanks for the country with some truly phenomenal photos showing fans packed into the streets.
Asllani told the crowd, via Express Sport:
“First and foremost, seeing everyone here today indicates that we have done something big.”
Family and a balloon arch met the team upon their arrival at Gothenburg's Landvetter Airport. There was live music at the celebration, which was aired on TV.
While the United States won its second consecutive World Cup in record-shattering fashion, it was all European teams that filled out the rest of the quarterfinals for the first time. It has been dubbed Europe’s coming-out party and further proved how deep the tournament is becoming.
Sweden is still seeking a gold at the World Cup and is one of the teams most likely to do it soon, although it’s becoming harder. Countries are beginning to pour money into developing women’s teams and more nations are realistically in the mix. Heading into the 2019 tournament, players and analysts called it the deepest yet.
Swedish captain Caroline Seger and Linda Sembrant, both of whom played in their third World Cup, told FIFA.com the importance of Sweden finishing on the podium.
“I believe this will create a ripple effect,” Seger said. “That we continue to be up there winning medals is a huge step. Now you can watch women’s football on TV, you can follow it. We have grown with the Swedish people.”
“The longer the tournament went, the more you noticed the effect it had,” Sembrant said. “How much has happened back home; how many have been following, taken notice and started to get interested. It’s fantastic to be part of creating that impact on Sweden and for young girls. It’s truly something special.”
Viewership and interest around the world is up, from local TV ratings to FIFA’s estimate that 1 billion watched the tournament. As some continue to push the argument “no one watches women’s soccer,” the fact that 30,000 fans showed up to welcome Sweden, a bronze medal-winning team, home on a Monday isn’t just a stunning visual — it’s hard proof the sport’s growth is undeniable.
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