Roberto Baggio, Romario and Hristo Stoitchkov are the three names who most people will associate with the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
However, it is also impossible to overlook the surprise exploits of Tommy Svensson’s Sweden team, who roared all the way to the semi finals, and eventually finished in third place after being edged out 1-0 by Brazil in the last four.
One of the stars of that Sweden team was striker Martin Dahlin, who formed a fearsome partnership with the giant Kennet Andersson. Dahlin scored four goals in as many games, and also provided three assists. This record could have been even more impressive had he not missed two matches, one due to suspension and another - the third-and-fourth play-off in which Sweden thrashed Bulgaria 4-0 - because of injury.
Goal.com caught up with Dahlin, who now owns his own clothing line, ‘Dahlin’, and also runs a sports agency, MD Management, which boasts Werder Bremen’s Markus Rosenberg, PSV's Ola Toivonen, Basel's Behrang Safari, Copenhagen's Oscar Wendt, West Brom's Jonas Olsson, Bochum's Matias Concha, and Groningen’s Andreas Granqvist and Petter Andersson, on its books.
“The best moment of my career was the 1994 World Cup,” Dahlin told Goal.com
“The whole tournament was just fantastic. We had a great team and had a lot of fun.
“Since 1994, Sweden have had some problems doing well at the World Cup finals, so hopefully next year we will do better.
“It is not going to be easy. I think we will qualify, but in the finals themselves we have been struggling, and I fear it will be the same in South Africa.
“Sweden is only a small country, so just to reach every finals of the Euros and the World Cup since 2000 is an achievement.”
Dahlin was then asked about Sweden’s star player at the moment – Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Inter striker has been unstoppable in Serie A in recent weeks, and tomorrow night will take on old club Juventus in the explosive Derby d'Italia.
Is Ibrahimovic the best Swedish player of all time?
“I don’t really like to compare players,” Dahlin stressed.
“It is very difficult when looking at different generations. For sure, he is one of the best ever. We had Gunnar Nordahl who was top scorer in Serie A five years in a row in the 1950s.
“I rate Ibra very highly, a fantastic striker who can do it all.
“He is a brilliant player who is having a wonderful career, and has many great years ahead of him still.”
Martin Dahlin has owned his clothing line, ‘Dahlin’, since 1994. The products on offer can be found at http://www.dahlin.nu/
Interview: Carlo Garganese