Euros legends: Tomas Brolin and the goal that changed the Swedish forward's life

Tomas Brolin Sweden legend England Euro 92
(Image credit: Getty)

“Brolin, Dahlin, Broleeen…” A moment so magical, it made Barry Davies go all Dolly Parton. Tomas Brolin’s breakthrough goal is burned into English (opens in new tab) brains of a certain vintage, as the cherubic forward knocked Graham Taylor’s dreary team out of Euro 92. The English press certainly didn’t forget, because the Swede became prime tabloid fodder during a tricky spell at Leeds years later. 

Injury hampered Brolin’s career in the mid-1990s, but he packed an awful lot into the glory days. The 20-year-old hit two past Wales (opens in new tab) legend Neville Southall on his Sweden (opens in new tab) debut, and a corking consolation against Brazil (opens in new tab) at Italia 90. But Euro 92 was the major impact. Initially employed as a winger, Brolin went central to score against Denmark, then against England, and then again in the semi-final defeat to Germany (opens in new tab).

He’d get used to changing positions in Serie A. The young Swede had helped to turn Parma (opens in new tab) into European heavyweights, only for the upstarts to pursue a quasi-Galactico policy and buy half a team of No.10s. The arrival of Tino Asprilla and Gianfranco Zola pushed Brolin into central midfield, yet the flexible forward still thrived.

He was back up front for USA 94 and made it into the team of the tournament. Sweden came an unlikely third, Brolin’s highlight being an ingenious set-piece strike against Romania (opens in new tab). But the beginning of the end occurred just a few months later in a Euro 96 qualifier against Hungary (opens in new tab): Brolin broke an ankle setting up Martin Dahlin and was never quite the same player again. 

Leeds (opens in new tab) paid £4.5m for the readjusting playmaker anyway – classic ’90s Leeds – but then stuck him out wide. It all got very messy. 

Brolin retired aged only 28. Appropriately, perhaps, his last competitive game – for his brother’s side, Hudiksvalls – was in goal. Ever adaptable, he became hugely successful in the vacuum cleaner business. Take that, suckers.

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