Like the people of many other Scandinavian countries, Swedes love participating in sports and watching sports. Keeping fit and engaging in some form of sport is a popular hobby in Sweden and at least half of the population practice sports in one way or another. During their leisure times, most Swedish people choose to get active especially if it involves being outdoors. Most people will be familiar with the most popular sports in Sweden like football, but many have never heard of some of the very popular and very Swedish sports such as bandy. Let’s look at the five most popular sports played in Sweden.
Football is definitely Sweden’s most popular sport in terms of active participation, and it has been so for many years. According to bettingonlinesverige.se, football is not only the most popular sport in all of Sweden, both in terms of participants and viewers who attend football events or watch football on television but also in terms of betting. Billions of kronor are wagered whenever the Swedish national men’s team plays a match, especially so for two of the most important sports events for Swedes – the World Cup and the European Championships, with every Swede supporting their team passionately. Football is a sport that many Swedes grow up playing or at least watching and it’s an integral part of Swedish culture.
Although Sweden has never won either the World Cup or the European Championships, they have had several notable victories. Despite never winning, Sweden have been one of the more successful national teams in the history of the World Cup, having been second place 4 times. In the 2004 Euros, Sweden had a remarkable victory when they scored 5-0 against Bulgaria in the group stage. More recently, Sweden scored 3-2 against Poland in the Euro 2020 group stage.
Sweden also has a very strong women’s football team too, who as a matter of fact have been able to get more success than the men’s team on the international stage, being recognized as one of the world’s best women’s teams and doing very well in the Olympics and World Cups.
The best known and most successful footballers in Sweden currently are Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Emil Forsberg and Albin Ekdal.
Bandy is a very popular Swedish winter sport that many people have never heard of. In Sweden, however, this sport is hugely popular with a very enthusiastic following. Bandy is a winter sport that’s a lot like an ice-version of field hockey but not to be confused with ice hockey. Combining elements of football, ice hockey, and field hockey, bandy is played between two teams of 11 players for 90 minutes per game. This sport is also popular in Russia, Norway and Finland.
Despite the freezing temperatures and outdoor venues, thousands of Swedes turn up at Zinkensdamms IP in Stockholm to support one of the city’s main bandy teams: IK Tellus and Hammarby IF. Equipped with hot drinks and spirits curiously packed in briefcases to combat the cold, the weather doesn’t stop fans from supporting their favourite bandy team in Sweden. Sweden have won the World bandy Championship 12 times, only second to Russia. In the 2019 World bandy Championships, Sweden came second losing out to World Champions Russia once again! The Best Swedish bandy players currently are Martin Johansson, Erik Pettersson and Andreas Bergwall.
3. Ice hockey
Ice hockey isn’t as popular as football and bandy in Sweden, but Sweden has produced several talented ice hockey players over the years. The sport has a long and interesting history in the country, dating back to 1912 when it was first organised by the Swedish Football Association which later moved off and formed part of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association which governs the sport today.
In terms of international success, ice hockey is perhaps the sport where Swedes have excelled the most. Sweden takes part in the annual World Championships organised by the International Ice Hockey Federation, which they have won 11 times. Their most recent win was in the 2018 World Championships where they came first place for the second year in a row. According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, Sweden ranks among the top-10 best countries, with the men’s ice hockey team placing 7th and the women’s team taking 9th place.
Handball is a sport that Swedes are very talented at and it’s also one of the most popular sports played and watched in the country. The sport is mostly popular around Europe, including the Nordic countries, Germany, and France. It was originally played in Denmark in the 1890s and it wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that the sport developed and became more popular in countries like Germany and Sweden.
The Swedish National Handball team is considered to be one of the strongest teams in history, having won four Handball World Championships trophies. Over the years, Sweden has held a very high international level in handball and one of the best teams in all of Sweden is Hammarby handball. The best handball players in Sweden currently are recognised as Jonas Källman, Kim Andersson and Niclas Ekberg.
Golf is a popular sport that Swedes enjoy playing but enjoy watching on television even more. Sweden’s large open-air spaces make it ideal to play golf, considering that the sport requires a lot more space than the average sport. There are around 450 golf courses in Sweden and nearly half a million registered golfers in the country, making it clear that the sport is also quite popular in the country. Some of the highest-ranked golfers in the world are also from Sweden. For example, Annika Sörenstam is known as one of the best female golfers in history, with 90 international tournament wins during her career among many other victories. Other well-known successful Swedish golfers include Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson and Jesper Parnevik.