Sweden and Spain will clash on Thursday, September 2, in a crucial match of Group B at the World Cup 2020 qualifications. This will mark Spain’s third match of the group stage, while it will mark Sweden’s only second, as they look to claim the sole position atop of Group B.
Sweden vs Spain
When: Thursday, September 2 – 20:45 CEST
Where: Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden
Weather: Cloudy, 16°C
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Spain dropped the ball in their World Cup 2022 qualifiers opener, when they drew with Greece (1-1), but have since bounced back with two convincing wins against Georgia (2-1) and Kosovo (3-1) to grab seven points ahead of their clash with Sweden.
The hosts are at six points, with two wins against Georgia (1-0) and Kosovo (3-0), meaning a win tonight would catapult them to the top of Group B, where Sweden will likely remain until the end of the qualifiers. Sweden will want to deliver at Friends Arena; however, even a draw wouldn’t be a bad outcome since they have a better GD (3-0) and the La Roja (6-3).
Sweden Eyeing All Three Points
Sweden will enter this match without their centre-back Marcus Danielson, who is suspended due to the incident at EURO 2020. What’s more, many of the veterans have retired from international football, including Sebastian Larsson, Andreas Granqvist, Mikael Lustig, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
While hardly a positive thing, Janne Andersson has plenty of talent at his disposal to fill in the gaps. Most notably, Emil Forsberg and Alexander Isak, who have both impressed at Euros and Victor Lindelof and Filip Helander, who have fought for the right to represent their flag.
Looking back, Sweden looked good at the Euros, however, were unable to overcome Ukraine in the 1/8 finals, who beat them 2-1 with a 120’+1 goal. Regardless, Sweden had to play without Danielson, who received a red card in 98′, so it’s only fair to speculate how far would they have come had the 32-year-old defender not made a mistake.
What’s more, Sweden ended the group stage with a 2-1-0 record, which includes wins against Slovakia (1-0) and Poland (3-2) and a draw against Spain (0-0), who they will now meet for the second time since October 2019 (1-1).
Spain’s Long List Of Missing Players
Spain enter this match without a few key men. That incluces Pedri, Pau Torres, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Alcantara, Fabian Ruiz, Mikel Oyarzabal, Diego Llorente, and Dani Olmo. That is a problem, even though Luis Enrique has talented replacements at their disposal.
We can expect Manchester City’s Ferran Torres to lead the attack, while Unai Simon should get a nod from Enrique to start between the bars. Alternatively, Robert Sanchez could be the designated goalkeeper tonight.
Spain are 3-1-1 in their last five outings, albeit it’s worth noting that Spain won only one of those three – 5-0 against Slovakia – in regular time. The remaining two, against Croatia (5-3) and Switzerland (2-1) were decided after extra time.
Their only draw over that stretch happened against Poland (1-1), while Spain was unable to make it past the eventual EURO 2020 champions, Italy, who beat them 2-1 after penalties.
Sweden vs Spain Betting Pick
Spain seem like a stronger team on paper, but there is nothing that would confirm that claim. They haven’t achieved much of late and while reaching the semi-finals of Euros is respectable, Spain dragged their way through the opposition, struggling even against Switzerland.
Spain are good with the ball and usually dominate with possession, but that doesn’t mean much if you can’t convert your chances. Spain seem to be lacking in the final third, which could be a problem against sturdy Sweden, who have conceded only five goals across their last nine outings.
Prediction: Sweden +0.50 Asian Handicap – 2.05 at Sportmarket
Prediction: Sweden to win – 4.82 at Sportmarket