Sweden has one of the more curious World Cup records around. In the early days, they did quite well, then sort of fizzled out. In the 1930 World Cup, they didn’t compete. In 1934, they made the quarterfinals. For the 1938 World Cup, they placed fourth.
Then, in 1950, they placed third. Things were looking good for old Sweden. However, for 1954, they didn’t qualify. As hosts in 1958, they earned second place. Back at it! So far, so good. However, at this juncture, things began to go downhill.
They didn’t qualify in 1962 or 1966. In 1970, they didn’t get out of their group. In 1974, they got to the second round only. At Argentina in 1978, they didn’t get out of their group. Things got worse in 1982 and 1986, as they didn’t qualify. In 1990, they were back, but couldn’t get out of their group. Then, in 1994, they did very well, earning third place. But, for France in 1998, they didn’t qualify. Back at it in 2002 and 2006, they made the big tournament but were eliminated in the round of 16. And, similar to their track record of being consistently inconsistent, they didn’t qualify for 2010 or 2014
During European World Cup qualifications, Sweden finished second in their group behind France. As a result, they went into a two-game playoff with Italy (who had finished second in their group behind Spain). And so it was, for the first time in a long time (1958, to be exact), Italy would not be going to the World Cup. In the opening game, Sweden won 1-0 on November 10, 2017, in Sweden. Then, a few days later, on November 13, 2017, a 0-0 tie held in Milan, Italy, sent Sweden to the 2018 World Cup.
Outside of the World Cup, Sweden has won the Nordic Football Championship (1924-2001) nine times. They also won the gold medal in the 1948 Olympics.