Sweden needs all the thumbs we can get - in a Europe cup of handball. This is a country full of handball fans - and we love our national team.
So the saying "Det viktigaste är inte att vinna utan att kämpa väl" (= The most important is not to win, but to try hard) does not apply here. That's just a sweet way of trying to teach the kids to be good losers - although once overheard a father saying in the gym by the 8-year old's soccer game: the most important is to win. Hmmm... the old saying was something like that, but not really.
By the way: Holding the thumbs is Swedes' way of showing hope and luck. Kind of like crossing your fingers in the English language (Swedes cross their fingers when telling a white lie, by the way!). So hold your thumbs hard, when Sweden needs all the wins they can get in a handball-crazy Europe. The importance is not to try hard - but to win!
Follow it on EHF Euro 2012