The opener – IX, Jan Eriksson

After Muller, Rummenigge, Platini or Mancini, the name of Jan Eriksson will look very strange for you, because I’m sure that few heard of this Swedish footballer. Strangely, his numbers at the national team resemble very good with the ones of the former hero, Roberto Mancini. If the Italian played 36 games for Italy and scored four times, Eriksson appeared in 35 encounters for Sweden and scored also four times! The difference is that Jan played for the side from North during four years (1990-1994) and more important, he was a defender, not an attacking player! He didn’t made it to any World Cup game, but he was one of the main players of from the EURO 1992, competition which they have hosted and reached for the semifinals, the best result for Sweden at a continental tournament. Started on 10th of June 1992, Rasunda Stadium, in front of nearly 30 thousand people, the first match of the Cup gathered the organizers and France. The opener came in the 24th minute from the booth of Eriksson. Papin also scored and the game ended in a tie.

Still, Sweden would have won the group after two victories: in front of Denmark, 1-0 and in front of England 2-1. In this last game Eriksson also scored, equalizing to one in the second half, after David Platt brought the British in advantage with only four minutes wasted in the game. So, Sweden reached the semi-finals, but stopped there, after a 2-3 loss against the future finalist, Germany.

Sundsvall, on 24th of August 1967 was the birth date of Jan, which means in 1994, when he last played for Sweden, he was only 27. So, at the national side he hadn’t quite a career, but neither did he had at the clubs he played at. His most important results resume to a spell of two seasons (1992-1994), at Kaiserslautern, in Germany. In rest, he only played in Sweden (Sundsvall, AIK Solna, Norrkoping and Helsingborgs), six matches in Switzerland for Servette Geneve, one (!) in England for Sunderland and a full season in MLS at Tampa Bay Mutiny. Many teams, few matches and no trophies! This is how we can resume Eriksson’s career and these also may be the main reasons why few of you know him. Still, he remains with the memory of the opener from EURO 1992, with the one of the equalizer against England and with the semi-final in which his country played.

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