Sara Thunebro

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Sara Thunebro
2011-08 Sara Thunebro.JPG
With FFC Frankfurt in 2011
Personal information
Full name Sara Kristina Thunebro[1]
Date of birth (1979-04-26) 26 April 1979 (age 39)[1]
Place of birth Strängnäs, Sweden[2]
Height 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)[1]
Playing position Defender
Youth career
IK Viljan
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–1998 Gideonsbergs IF
1999–2001 Djurgårdens IF
2002 Älvsjö AIK
2003–2009 Djurgårdens IF[a] 230 (19)
2009–2013 FFC Frankfurt 56[3] (6)
2013 Tyresö FF 21 (0)
2014–2015 Eskilstuna United DFF 42 (3)
National team
1995 Sweden U17 10[4] (0[4])
1997–1998 Sweden U19 8[4] (0[4])
2004–2015 Sweden 132[5] (5[5])
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 05:15, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:22, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Sara Kristina Thunebro (born 26 April 1979) is a Swedish former footballer who was a defender for the Sweden women's national team. At club level Thunebro played for Eskilstuna United DFF, Tyresö FF and Djurgårdens IF of the Damallsvenskan, as well as FFC Frankfurt of the Frauen-Bundesliga. Making her international debut in 2004, Thunebro won 132 caps and represented her country at the 2009 and 2013 editions of the UEFA Women's Championship. She also played at the 2007, 2011 and 2015 FIFA Women's World Cups, as well as the 2008 and 2012 Olympic football tournaments. An attacking left-back, her trademark on the field was her white headband.

Club career[edit]

Thunebro began playing at the age of six, eventually rising to the youth club Viljan IK. She advanced through the Damallsvenskan to one of the top tier teams Djurgårdens IF. With Thunebro on the team, Djurgården won the Swedish Championship in 2003 and 2004. Djurgården also won the Swedish Cup in both 2004 and 2005, securing qualification for the UEFA Women's Cup. In 2005 Djurgården reached the final but were beaten by Turbine Potsdam.

After twice being voted the best defender in Sweden, Thunebro joined FFC Frankfurt in 2009. She extended her contract with the German club for another two years in April 2011.[6]

After playing only three games in the first half of the season she left Frankfurt in March 2013 to join Tyresö FF in Sweden. She aimed to get more match practice ahead of the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 in her home country.

After one season at Tyresö she moved on again, to newly promoted Damallsvenskan club Eskilstuna United DFF. In announcing the transfer in December 2013, Thunebro admitted she moved to be based closer to her family.[7] After the 2015 season in which Eskilstuna finished as runners-up to FC Rosengård, Thunebro made the difficult decision to retire from playing. Coach Viktor Eriksson thanked Thunebro for her part in establishing the club in the top league and described it as an honour to have worked with her for two years.[8]

International career[edit]

A 3–0 defeat to the United States in January 2004 was Thunebro's first appearance for the senior Swedish national team. She had already collected 32 caps at Under–23 level, eight at Under–19 and 10 at Under–17.[9] She remained on the fringes of the squad but was left out of the selection for UEFA Women's Euro 2005. Thunebro travelled to China for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup but made just one appearance during Sweden's exit at the group stage. Returning to China for the following year's Olympic football tournament, Thunebro had become a regular starter in the team which reached the quarter finals.

Thunebro playing for Sweden in 2013

By 2009 Thunebro was an important part of an in–form Swedish team who were enjoying victories over Germany, Brazil and the United States. "Each year I've taken small steps forward," she explained. "I feel in great form now, but I haven't reached my peak yet."[10] At UEFA Women's Euro 2009 Sweden reached the quarter finals only to be eliminated by Norway.

At the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany Thunebro won a bronze medal with Sweden, who were beaten by eventual winners Japan in the semi final. Third place secured Sweden's qualification for the 2012 Olympic football tournament in London. In September 2011 Thunebro announced her intention to retire from international football after the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 tournament in her home country.[11]

After the tournament, Thunebro relented and was selected by national coach Pia Sundhage for Sweden's 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualification campaign.[12] In May 2015, Thunebro and Eskilstuna team-mates Olivia Schough and Malin Diaz were confirmed in Sundhage's Sweden squad for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada.[13]

Following Sweden's second round elimination in Canada Thunebro quit international football. She had received only 15 minutes of playing time as the team failed to win any of their four matches at the tournament. Thunebro felt that she no longer had coach Sundhage's confidence and did not want to sit on the substitute's bench to make up the numbers.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Thunebro enjoys playing golf and rides a motorcycle. Throughout her career she did not employ an agent.[15] Part of the reason she wore her trademark headband was to allow her grandmother to easily identify her while watching on the television.[16]



FFC Frankfurt


Sweden U19



  1. ^ 2003–2006 as Djurgården/Älvsjö.


  1. ^ a b c "List of Players - 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Profile". Svenska Fotbollförbundet (in Swedish). Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  3. ^ Bundesliga statistics at
  4. ^ a b c d Caps and goals
  5. ^ a b Caps and goals
  6. ^ Nora Kruse (5 April 2011). "Sara Thunebro verlängert in Frankfurt" (in German). Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Tyresö tappar landslagsspelare till Eskilstuna" (in Swedish). 13 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  8. ^ Mattsson, Sebastian (10 November 2015). "Sara Thunebro slutar: "Varit ett svårt beslut"" (in Swedish). Expressen. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Dam: Sveriges VM-trupp" (in Swedish). 30 May 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  10. ^ Sujay Dutt (18 August 2009). "Thunebro says Sweden are soaring". Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Thunebro focusing on the future". 22 September 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  12. ^ Wihlborg, Niklas (3 September 2013). "Sjögran får plats i landslaget" (in Swedish). Sydsvenskan. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  13. ^ Lundin, Josefin (11 May 2015). "Tre spelare från Eskilstuna United uttagna till VM i Kanada" (in Swedish). Sveriges Radio. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  14. ^ Frölander, Martin (30 June 2015). "Sara Thunebro slutar i svenska landslaget" (in Swedish). Expressen. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  15. ^ Hellsten, Carl Magnus (28 June 2013). "Sara Thunebro - En EMinent motståndare" (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  16. ^ Juchem, Markus (3 May 2011). "Sara Thunebro, die Spätberufene" (in German). Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]