Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
- Caroline Seger is poised to grow to be the most-capped participant in European historical past
- Sweden captain additionally making ready for a fourth Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
- She instructed FIFA.com about profession highlights and beating the all-conquering USWNT
Caroline Seger stands on the verge of historical past. Over the subsequent week, the Sweden skipper will make her 214th and 215th worldwide appearances, turning into the most-capped participant not solely in her nation, however the whole continent of Europe.
The record to which she is about to put declare is presently shared by two of the recreation’s greats: Birgit Prinz and Therese Sjogran. The latter was a midfield mentor to Seger in her early days with the nationwide workforce and is now sporting director at her membership, FC Rosengard. She additionally occurs to be her finest buddy.
But for all the glory – and private bragging rights – that turning into a European record-breaker will carry, Seger is wanting deeper into the horizon. The upcoming Olympics – her fourth – glistens there invitingly, and so too does subsequent yr’s UEFA Women’s EURO. Should her kind, health and motivation ranges stay excessive, we would even see the 36-yr-outdated lead out Sweden in 2023, at what could be her fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup™ and 14th main event in yellow and blue.
There was, subsequently, a lot to sit up for as Seger sat down with FIFA.com to debate setting benchmarks, scoring penalties and smoothing the path for Ferrari-driving kids.
Caroline, once you marked your 2 hundredth Sweden look by beating England to win bronze at the World Cup, your workforce-mates instructed you: ‘You can’t retire now – it’s essential to keep for the Olympics’. But when the event was delayed for a yr, did that trigger you to rethink your determination to play on?
Well, I signed a 3-yr contract with Rosengard proper after the World Cup and, in my head, that was me committing to taking part in on for at least these three years. I don’t even know for certain if I will stop as soon as that contract come to an finish. But even when the Olympics and the EURO received pushed again, there was no thought in my head besides to proceed taking part in for the nationwide workforce and push on in direction of the new date. I additionally had that large aim in entrance of me of breaking the European look record. Above all else, I nonetheless love this recreation and love coming away with the nationwide workforce. This workforce appears like a second household to me now. I’ve all the time felt that I’ll know when it’s over and proper now, each bodily and mentally, I don’t really feel that point has come.
That look record is so shut for you now. Has it been in your thoughts for a while?
The indisputable fact that the participant who has the record now could be my finest buddy implies that, as you possibly can think about, we’ve joked about it loads of occasions! But actually, it’s not one thing I’ve centered till pretty just lately. Getting to 200 appearances was a very large factor for me, and doing effectively in the tournaments is all the time the most essential of all. But once you get nearer to a record, you positively need to ensure you beat it and don’t find yourself falling quick. It’s a giant factor to realize, and now I simply need to see my identify go over Therese’s to the prime of that listing! (Laughs) It can be cool to see it there and naturally I’ll be proud to be making a little bit of historical past. But it won’t stop for me with the record. I assume I must maintain going for a couple of years extra simply to push up that quantity and ensure I don’t find yourself with a really quick time at the prime! (Laughs)
You’ve talked about committing to a few years from France 2019. The subsequent World Cup clearly falls simply past that interval, so are you counting your self in, out, or simply seeing the way it goes?
I assume the place I am in my profession, I should take the ‘see how it goes’ method and take issues one step at a time. I must have the vitality and bodily capability to compete. Right now, I have that and I don’t need to say that I’ll positively end up after the Olympics or the EURO. If my physique holds up, I really feel good mentally and nonetheless love the recreation as a lot as I do now, I really feel I might play on for a couple of extra years. But I additionally perceive that my profession has to return to an finish at some level, as unhappy as it’s for me to consider that.
But you don’t discover motivation an issue for you at this stage, even when it’s chilly, moist and it’s essential to exit and put your self by means of a tricky coaching session?
If I’m being completely sincere, that is a matter at occasions. It does change over the years and, having finished it for thus lengthy, not each coaching session and match is enjoyable to be concerned in. But my love for the recreation generally continues to be sturdy, and I have a giant want to present again to soccer too. So when you could have a day like that, when it’s windy, raining and also you’re like ‘Why am I here?’, I can all the time push by means of. It’s a query of mentality.
Sweden drew 1-1 towards USA just lately and you’re additionally the final workforce to beat the world champions in a serious event, in that Olympic shootout in 2016. Given they’re once more seen as the workforce to beat in Tokyo, what do you assume the secret is to matching them?
You must have each side of the recreation for a begin: high quality and mentality. With the US, it’s a rustic of 360 million folks – and the nationwide workforce is the large precedence there. The league suits round the nationwide workforce, whereas in Europe it’s the different manner spherical. The reality the USWNT is the precedence, and has the focus, means they’ll prepare extra and put together higher. It additionally helps that if they’ve a performed injured, they’ve one other ten excessive-high quality choices to fit in. For Sweden or anybody else going up towards the US proper now, we have to be good. You simply can’t afford to make errors or lose focus. They are the finest workforce in the world they usually’re the finest for a very good cause. But it’s doable to beat them and we confirmed that in Rio, even when we needed to defend for a very long time! (Laughs)
Tell us about that match. Your penalty got here when Sweden have been 3-2 down in the shootout, simply after Linda Sembrant had missed, so there was loads of strain on. What do you bear in mind about all of it?
That recreation is such a terrific reminiscence. I actually had the feeling that the followers have been on our facet, and it was a terrific ambiance to play in. As for the penalties, it’s humorous it’s best to point out about the timing as a result of I was so centered that I don’t assume I even seen that I was going up after a miss. What I do bear in mind is the feeling of freedom after I scored, considering ‘Well, at least I’ve finished my half’. We had this perception in the workforce that we might win that match, and after we received our probability we had the character to take it. It was an incredible feeling, particularly to win that recreation at such a particular stadium in entrance of so many supporters.
You’ve been a part of so many main tournaments with Sweden, however Rio – statistically at least, in reaching the ultimate – was your finest efficiency. Do you see it as the spotlight of your worldwide profession?
Actually, for me, the 2019 World Cup was even higher. We did rather well at that Olympics, however we additionally defended loads of the time. I truly assume the ultimate was our greatest recreation, regardless that we misplaced. But our performances at the final World Cup have been of a a lot increased commonplace. In all my years with the nationwide workforce, I don’t ever bear in mind us taking part in in addition to we did in France. It was wonderful and really satisfying for me to see that growth in the workforce and the manner we performed.
Has that evolution continued since France, and may we anticipate to see the identical form of Sweden – taking part in on the entrance foot, seeking to dominate video games – at the upcoming tournaments?
I positively hope so. The cause we’re taking part in this fashion, and this effectively, is right down to our coaches. They did loads of work to vary the conventional Swedish fashion of play. The manner we we’re coaching proper now, it’s easy, small stuff that makes the larger image so a lot better. The gamers actually discovered it simple to regulate to. I hope we proceed on this street and I really feel we have to as a result of, for me, it’s the fashion of soccer that any profitable groups in future can be taking part in.
At membership stage, you loved a terrific season in the Champions League earlier than going out to Bayern Munich in the final eight. But how robust is it now for the likes of Rosengard to compete towards these European tremendous golf equipment?
It’s very robust, and a lot of it comes right down to funding. In Sweden, we simply don’t have large males’s golf equipment behind us, financing the ladies’s groups’ growth, and there’s not an excessive amount of we will do about that. But there are some small enhancements we will make. The indisputable fact that we hadn’t even began our season when that quarter-ultimate got here round is one, for certain. Sweden must determine whether or not it will probably change the league calendar to align us with the remainder of Europe, so we’re in the identical rhythm as the others and have a greater probability to compete towards these big golf equipment.
Although it presents challenges for Swedish membership soccer, you have to be very excited – particularly having performed at PSG your self – to see these large golf equipment investing in the ladies’s recreation and the alternatives that presents?
Absolutely. I simply want I was 15 once more! (Laughs) This is precisely what I’ve been combating for all these years, and I love seeing ladies’s soccer now being given the respect it deserves – and that I really feel we’ve got earned. Now when a younger participant comes by means of and I ask them what their dream is, they are saying, ‘Well, maybe Barcelona or Lyon or Manchester United’. And that’s nice as a result of, when I was rising up, USA was the solely possibility. I love what’s taking place. And when I see Hanna Bennison or one in all the others driving previous me in her Ferrari, I’ll really feel that I have performed a small half in that! (Laughs)