The Super Bowl may be over in the United States, but sports in Sweden are just reaching their boiling point. Whether it’s preseason football, playoff-atmosphere hockey, desperation basketball or championship bandy, winter has plenty to offer to Swedish sports fans.

Coming to America
Swedish soccer fans can get up close and personal with a pair of Allsvenskan teams this month when both AIK and BK Häcken head to the United States for preseason training. Both teams are to participate in tournaments against both Major League Soccer and USL Pro sides. USL Pro is the American equivalent of the Superettan, although U.S. soccer does not use the promotion and relegation system all of Europe follows.
AIK plans a week of training in Miami for the third straight year. AIK plans to arrive the week of Feb. 20. The team is to spend a week training before traveling to Portland, Ore., to take part in a preseason tournament. AIK plays FC Chivas USA Feb. 27, the San Jose Earthquakes on March 1 and the Portland Timbers March 3 in a round robin tournament at Jeld Wen Field in Portland.
Tickets for the tournament go on sale Feb. 8. See the Portland Timbers website,, for match times and tournament schedule.
Häcken also plans to hit South Beach on Feb. 20 for several days of training before taking part in the Pro Soccer Challenge at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando. Hacken plays MLS teams FC Dallas of Feb. 25 and FC Toronto on Feb. 28 and USL Pro team Orlando City March 1.
For ticket information go to the Orlando City website,

Guidetti a true Dutch treat
After a tumultuous summer that nearly led to a court case, Sweden Under-21 John Guidetti has found a home in Holland. The former Brommapojkarna striker has 14 goals in 13 matches for Dutch Eiredivisie giants Feyenoord Rotterdam, including a hat trick Jan. 28 in a match against rivals Ajax Amsterdam.
Guidetti missed the opener of the second half of the Dutch season Jan. 18 when he picked up a flu bug. Feyenoord lost 2-1. He returned to training 23 just in time for Feyenoord’s showdown match with arch-rivals Ajax Amsterdam, much to the delight of Rotterdam fans. Thousands turned out to greet the Swede with chants of “Guidetti, Guidetti.”
The intense spotlight focused on the 20-year-old striker, led Rotterdam manager Ronald Koeman to ban the Swede from talking to the media prior to the match.
The young Swede was an instant hit from the moment he arrived at Rotterdam on loan from Manchester City. However, he almost didn’t make it. Guidetti quickly rose through the ranks at City, making his first-team debut for the club in a League Cup match 2010. When his development contract with the club expired last summer, he looked set to sign for FC Twente. However, his agent, Per Johansson, and his father, Mike, had different ideas. Mike Guidetti worked out a contract for his son at Twente, which believed it signed the striker as a free agent. Johansson, however, worked out a new contract with Manchester City. The feud nearly came to legal blows until Manchester City produced paper showing Guidetti had, in fact, signed with the English club prior to his father’s deal in Holland. In the end, Guidetti remained at City. He agreed to move to Rotterdam on loan Aug. 31, 2011, and made his Dutch debut against NAC Breda Sept. 11, scoring once.
Since then, Guidetti has become an outright star for the storied Dutch club. His 14 goals are good for third in the league in scoring, ahead of fellow Swedes Ola Toivonen of PSV Eindhoven and Rasmus Elm at AZ Alkmaar.
As for what’s next, Dutch pundits say Guidetti could well create a new standard.
“I think the sky is really the limit for John,” said one expert who asked for anonymity. “He is a rare talent and if he keeps on the right path, he will be a true star.”

Playoffs Raffle
The playoff picture in the Eliterien continues to take shape, with the last 10 games of the regular season promising to be a dog fight as six teams all have a shot at the final three playoff spots.
As of Feb. 5, Färjestad had the No. 6 spot with 69 points, while AIK was seventh with 66 and Modo eighth with 64 points. Växjö was a point behind with 63, while 10th-place Djurgården had 62 and 11th-place Linköping had 59 points.
Djurgården had the best chance—but the hardest schedule—to grab one of the three spots. DIF plays Färjestad twice, Modo and AIK in its last ten matches, but also faces top-of-the-table teams HV 71, Luleå and Brynäs.
Färjestad, the defending league champions, looks to have an easier path to the playoffs. The Wolfpack have just two games against teams higher in the standings than they are. Modo has arguably the toughest schedule, facing seven teams higher in the standings, including tilts with leaders Skelleftea and second-place Luleå. AIK has the second-toughest schedule, facing the top six teams in the standings over its last ten games. AIK also has a final derby game against Djurgarden to which to look forward.
Skellefteå and Luleå continue to lead the league. Luleå held first place with 82 points while Skellefteå was in second with 80. Brynäs held third place on 79 points while Frölunda was fourth with 76. HV 71 was fifth with 72.
The regular season ends March 3.

Sweden wins Bandy World Championship
Sweden claimed its 11th world title in Bandy as it defeated 2011 champions Russia 5-4 in a tense final at the 2012 Bandy World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Daniel Berlin scored the game-winning goal with slightly more than 12 minutes left to play in the 90-minute match. The goal capped a three-goal second-half rally as the Blue and Yellow fought back from a 4-2 deficit. Goaltender Andreas Bergwall made the go-ahead goal stand up as Sweden settled into a defensive posture for the final 10 minutes of the game.
Sweden took an early lead in the final after Johan Lefstedt scored at 6:32 of the first half off a pass from Barlin. Russia responded with a pair of goals. Mikhail Sveshnikov tied the game at 19:36 after Olov Englund picked up a tripping penalty. Eugene Ivanushkin put the Russians in front three minutes later. Johan Esplund tied the game three minutes before the half ended.
The Russians opened the second half riding the hot stick of Ivanushkin, who fired his team in front at 56:19. Ivanushkin netted his third goal of the game at 59:21 to put Russia up by two. Swedish captain Daniel Mossberg led his team’s comeback as he scored twice in a six-minute span to tie the game, his second coming at 74:54 of the second half. Berlin netted the game-winner.
The victory was revenge for the Swedes, whose only loss in the first round came Feb. 2 at the hands of the Russians. The Swedes roared through their first four games, overwhelming Finland, Norway, Kazakhstan and the U.S. by a combined 47-1. The loss to Russia set up a semifinal rematch between Sweden and Kazakhstan while the Russians and Finns locked horns in a rematch of the 2011 final.
Sweden defeated Kazakhstan 9-1 in the opening round, but the semifinal was a much different story. The host team battled the Swedes for 90 minutes in a heavy snow as weather conditions played a part in the tournament for the first time. Sweden rallied from a 4-2 deficit to force overtime before winning 6-5.

Södertälje holds slim in Swedish Basketball League
The Swedish Basketball League is in full swing, although for one group of players, it is almost like a college reunion.
More than 50 Americans play in the league, in both the first and second divisions, and more seem to arrive every day. Last-place Eco Örebro on Jan. 29 signed Clemson University star Terence Oglesby. The former Tiger power forward joins Leonard Mosely, who played for Oklahoma Baptist University before moving on to the ABA. Örebro is also home to Demond Watt, Bernard Toombs, Andrew Pleick and Pedro Cipriani. The addition of Oglesby paid immediate dividends as Örebro finally claimed its first two wins of the season.
Örebro has a ways to go to catch Södertälje, which leads the league with a 17-9 record, one win better than second-place Norrköping. Like Örebro, the top teams also feature a core of American players. Johnnell Smith poured in 25 points, four assists and had three steals as he led Södertälje to a 101-75 win over ninth-place Jämtland Feb. 3. Smith played for the University of New Orleans before turning pro.
The victory proved crucial for the league leaders as Norrköping knocked off 08 Stockholm 85-80 to move into second place, just a half game behind Södertälje. Former Kent State star Andrew Mitchell had 13 points for the Dolphins, who got a team-high 16 points from Swede Anton Saks. Stockholm is a rarity in the 10-team first division as it has a roster composed entirely of Swedish players.
Borås slipped to third place despite a 107-73 drubbing of seventh-place Uppsala. Christopher McKnight led Borås (16-11) to the win, notching a double-double with 23 points and 15 rebounds. McKnight is a product of Akron University. Western Washington University product Michael Palm tossed in 20 points for Borås while Jason Thomas, who played at American University in Washington, D.C., had 16 points. Former Arkansas University forward Delvon Johnson led Uppsala (14-13) with 13 points.
Fourth-place Solna ended Örebro’s modest two-game winning streak with an 83-74 win. Jonte Flowers, who played for Winona State University, led Solna (15-11) with 26 points. Pierre Hampton led Örebro (2-25) with 29 points.
Defending League champions Sundsvall Dragons pulled out a 97-87 win over fifth-place LF Basket. The Dragons (14-12) are chasing the fourth and final playoff spot in the league. Dino Gregroy, a standout at the University of Maryland in his rookie season in Sweden, led Sundsvall with 27 points while Jakob Siguardsson added 25. Martin Palmblad led LF Basket (14-11) with 23 points. University of Missouri star Keith Ramsay came off the bench to score 20 points for LF.
by Chipp Reid