Anders Svensson (footballer)

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Anders Svensson
Anders Svensson 2.jpg
Svensson playing for Elfsborg in 2012
Personal information
Full name Anders Gunnar Svensson[1]
Date of birth (1976-07-17) 17 July 1976 (age 38)
Place of birth Gothenburg, Sweden
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 8
Youth career
1980–1990 Guldhedens IK
1990–1992 Hestrafors IF
1993 Elfsborg
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–2001 Elfsborg 155 (38)
2001–2005 Southampton 127 (10)
2005– Elfsborg 222 (31)
National team
1996–1998 Sweden U21 16 (2)
1999–2013 Sweden 148 (21)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:18, 5 November 2013 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19:03, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Anders Gunnar Svensson (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈandɛʃ ˈsvɛnsɔn]; born 17 July 1976 in Gothenburg) is a Swedish international footballer who plays for Swedish side IF Elfsborg. He is a playmaker and a central midfielder, well known for his passing and set piece abilities. He was capped 148 times for the Swedish national football team and has been the captain of the Swedish national football team, before he retired from international football in 2013. He is the most capped male player for Sweden after passing Thomas Ravelli's previous record of 143 caps.

Early years[edit]

Svensson was born in Gothenburg to parents Bertil and Gun Svensson. Svensson has three brothers, the oldest one Thomas, Kristoffer and the youngest one Marcus. His father Bertil was his coach at Guldhedens IK.[3] He grew up watching English football on television.[4] In 1980, Svensson played for Hestrafors IF where he played for ten years.[3]

Club career[edit]

Guldhedens/IF Elfsborg[edit]

Svensson began playing football at Guldhedens IK when he was around five. He played at Guldhedens IK for ten years, until he moved to Borås, where he began to play for IF Elfsborg.

As his role on the pitch is that of an offensive midfielder, although at Southampton he also played on the left of midfield. He made his breakthrough while playing for IF Elfsborg in the late 1990s before moving to English side Southampton in 2001.


Svensson moved to Southampton on 14 June 2001 for a £750,000 transfer fee.[5] In England, he was a key player for Southampton; although near the end of his time with the club, he rarely cracked Gordon Strachan's starting-11. He played for Southampton in the 2003 FA Cup Final against Arsenal, which Southampton lost 1–0.[6]

During his time for the Saints, Svensson made 140 appearances. Despite chairman Rupert Lowe allegedly offering a new contract,[7] Svensson turned down the offer to return to his former club IF Elfsborg.[8]

Return to IF Elfsborg[edit]

Anders Svensson playing for IF Elfsborg.

He rejoined Elfsborg in 2005 and was the captain of the team until 2014 when he lost the title to Johan Larsson.[9]

International career[edit]

In 1996, he debuted in the Under 21 team. In 1998, he played in the U-21 championships along with Jörgen Pettersson, Yksel Osmanovski, Daniel Andersson and Fredrik Ljungberg.[3]

He debuted for the Swedish national side against South Africa in 1999.[citation needed]

He is known to be a good free-kick taker,[citation needed] which he showed in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan, where he scored a free kick goal against Argentina, which effectively eliminated the opponent in the group stages. He set up the opening goal for Henrik Larsson against Senegal through an in-swinging corner. He nearly scored a golden goal in extra time but his shot from inside the box was denied by the post. He played for Sweden in the Euro 2004 as well as the 2006 World Cup.[citation needed]

However, he found form for the national team during the Euro 2008 qualifying stage. He played 11 games with 2 goals and 1 assist which led Sweden to the Euro 2008. Svensson played every minute of every game during Euro 2008, but did not find form. His frustration showed, conceding a few free kicks during their last game in the tournament.[citation needed] After Henrik Larsson retired and Zlatan Ibrahimović declared that he was unsure about his future in the national team, Svensson was the team captain for Sweden in a friendly against Italy (0–1). After Ibrahimović returned to the national team in the summer of 2010, Svensson was named co-captain, although Ibrahimović remained official captain on the pitch.[citation needed]

On 6 September 2013, Svensson became the joint most capped male player in Swedish football history, equalling Thomas Ravelli's record with his 143rd cap. It was to be a memorable night for Svensson, as he scored the winner as Sweden came from behind to beat Ireland 2–1. In November 2013, the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) sparked a sexism scandal at its annual awards Gala when it presented Svensson with a Volvo car for winning 146 caps. The governing body was widely criticised for failing to honour Therese Sjögran, who had 187 caps.[10][11]

International goals[edit]

Anders Svensson is the most capped player for the Swedish national team and the fifth most capped outfield-player in European football history.[12]

Non-playing career[edit]

In 2014, Svensson, still actively playing, started to work as football commentator for Kanal 5.[13]


Sweden IF Elfsborg

England Southampton

Other achievements[edit]

Sweden National Team

Personal life[edit]

Svensson enjoyed a two-year relationship with model Anine Bing while playing for Southampon.[14] The pair met in London where she was modeling at the time.

Svensson married Emma Johansson in July 2007 at Thorsborgs.[15]

He is affectionately known in Sweden as Taco-Anders. The nickname comes from an interview in which he mentioned that his favorite meal is tacos.[16]


  1. ^ Holm, Stefan (26 May 2012). "Vi vann med 9–0 – han gjorde alla mål". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Anders Svensson profile". IF Elfsborg official website (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Vännerna berättar sagan om Anders Svenssons väg mot toppen
  4. ^ Hodgkinson, Mark (30 March 2004). "Beckham and Svensson are two peas in a pod". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Anders Svensson". Sky Sports. BSkyB. 12 October 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Arsenal retain FA Cup". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 17 May 2003. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Svensson: No Saints future". Sky Sports. 
  8. ^ "Svensson returns home". Sky Sports. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Lady football ace gets car after sexist blunder". The Local. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Sweden row over new car for Anders Svensson but not Therese Sjogran". The Guardian. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  12. ^ European national football team players -
  13. ^
  14. ^ Cafe.Se – Bästa Läsningen • Snyggaste Modet
  15. ^ Nygifta | Gt
  16. ^ Karlsson, Gustav; Sandqvist, Anders (11 May 2007). "Anders, varför kallas du Taco?" (in Swedish). Expressen. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Henrik Larsson
Sweden Captain
Succeeded by
Zlatan Ibrahimović