Back-to-back 7-0 wins over Romania and Hungary during the qualifiers for the UEFA European Women's Championship 2009 have sent morale soaring ahead of September's showpiece event.
The mood was dampened somewhat by an injury to Hanna Ljungberg, a key figure in Thomas Dennerby's free-scoring side. Having limped out early against the Hungarians, the lethal goal-getter appears set for at least a month on the sidelines.
Taking on an even greater share of the goalscoring responsibility in Ljungberg's absence will be 30-year-old Victoria Svensson, who added a brace in the Hungary match to her remarkable five-goal haul against Romania. "I'd love the World Cup to start right now, because we're playing really well," the Swede told FIFA.com.
"I'm feeling fantastic and I hope that we can keep this purple patch going throughout September and our stay in China."
Following the international retirements of Malin Mostrom, Linda Fagerstrom and Anna Sjostrom, the new-look Sweden team has found itself under severe scrutiny, with fans and media alike keen to see how Svensson and company perform without the experienced trio.
"Clearly all three are great players and we've certainly missed them. That said, I think we've played well this year," says Vickan. "The two wins over the past week prove that we're on top form, and we also performed well at the Algarve Cup."
In March, Sweden beat their French counterparts 3-1 in the third-place play-off to take the bronze medal for the second year running.
“We lost 3-2 but if the game had lasted for five more minutes, I'm convinced we would have won. Of course we were aiming to win the competition, but our priority this time around was to experiment with new players and a new system. And I think we did really well."
The striker feels that coach Dennerby and his staff have assembled an exciting blend of gifted youngsters and experienced campaigners, good enough to maintain Sweden's place in the upper echelons of the women's game. "Lotta Schelin, Nilla Fischer, Anna Paulsson, Caroline Seger. These are just a few of the youngsters who I'm sure will do a great job for us.
"I always tell them that we have to work really hard every day, and that a World Cup game is not like any other - there's a great deal of media pressure and a lot of people watching your every move," she explains, voicing the lessons learned from her 136 caps.
"Every game is important and you can't always play nice football; sometimes you have to dig deep, use your instinct and do everything in your power to win."
Sweden are grouped alongside USA, Korea DPR and Nigeria in September - the exact same teams they faced at the same stage of the 2003 tournament. Given the difficulty of the task ahead, Svensson is keen not to get carried away.
"To start with we've been drawn in the same group as in 2003... it looks a bit daunting," she admits. "I think it's the toughest group but having come through it safely once before is encouraging. We'll take it one step at a time, see how the group pans out and then see what happens."
photo Getty Images
Photo: Rémy Gros
photo Getty Images