Sweden’s skipper, Andreas Granqvist, has led by example since inheriting the armband in 2016 from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Granqvist was a real colossus in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia play-off triumph, neutralizing Italian attacks with an extraordinary blend of aerial dominance, tough tackling, and clever positioning.

His leadership on and off the field has also been praised by coach Janne Andersson, and the Krasnodar defender gained further recognition in November when he ended Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s decade-long reign as Sweden’s Player of the Year by receiving the award for the first time.

Andreas Granqvist - A Key Player For Sweden

Andreas Granqvist

At 33, Russia 2018 was his first World Cup outing and he'll return to Sweden at the end of the World Cup to sign for Helsingborgs, the club with which he started his career.

Granqvist was a talismanic figure during the tournament in a Swedish defense that conceded just 2 goals in their first 4 games and which, even before arriving in Russia, had eliminated both Italy and Holland.

Andreas Granqvist - A Key Player For Sweden

Andreas Granqvist

He prioritized Sweden’s crunch battle with England over the birth of his child. He chose to heed his wife's words and remain at the World Cup in Russia rather than fly home for the birth of their second baby, Mika, whose safe arrival was confirmed by Mrs. Granqvist.

His wife Sofie gave birth to their second kid, Mika on July 6, in Granqvist's home city of Helsingborg, where the 33-year-old will return this summer after 5 years in Russia with Krasnodar.

Sweden lost the Quarter-finals, as they conceded 2 goals from England's Harry Maguire and Dele Alli.

However, Granqvist had two goals during the tournament (both penalties).