Sweden vs Spain
October 16, 2019,
Friends Arena, Sweden
Sweden host Spain in a game which can severely dent their Euro finals hope. A defeat, clubbed with a win for Romania, will push Sweden to 3rd in the table and will make their upcoming game against Romania a virtual knockout affair.
Having scored 17 goals in the campaign so far, they must fancy themselves against a Spanish side that looks a bit vulnerable and Sergio Ramos’ absence will further complicate things for La Roja.
Meanwhile, after starting 11 players from 11 different clubs against Norway, normalcy is expected to be restored by Spain. With 3 games left, they are 6 points clear of 3rd placed Romania in Group F and a draw on Wednesday will be enough to send them through, and that too as group leaders.
An error from Kepa in injury time cost them the game against Norway and they had to settle for a draw. However, they have been ruthless in the tournament and a draw in Solna will be enough for them to book their place at next summer’s tournament.
Sweden boss Janne Andersson has no fresh injury concerns from the team that comfortably overcame Malta.
There are not expected to be many alterations from that match.
Emil Forsberg and Sebastian Larsson are both expected to feature in the wide midfield berths, although Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof could come into the XI after sitting out the clash with Malta due to a back injury.
Alexander Isak, who plays his club football in Spain, is likely to be recalled up front in place of Marcus Berg, who is yet to score in this campaign.
They are expected to stick to their 4-4-2 formation.
Predicted line-up this Euro Qualifiers 2019: Robin Olsen; Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist, Pierre Bengtsson; Sebastian Larsson, Kristoffer Olsson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg; Robin Quaison, Alexander Isak.
The squad is almost unrecognisable at the moment with a number of players left out for various reasons. Mikel Oyarzabal, Rodrigo Moreno and Dani Ceballos actually started as the front three against Norway, which is an indication of how things have changed in the current set-up.
Sergio Ramos, who became Spain’s most capped player and Europe’s most capped outfield player on Saturday, is suspended after collecting his 3rd yellow card in the tournament.
Coach Robert Moreno must therefore choose between Diego Llorente and Inigo Martinez to replace Ramos in defence, while Thiago Alcantara and Dani Carvajal could be recalled.
Meanwhile, Kepa whose error led to Norway’s equaliser in the injury time may have to warm the bench.
Spain are expected to field a 4-3-3 formation.
Predicted line-up Euro Qualifiers 2019: David de Gea; Dani Carvajal, Raul Albiol, Inigo Martinez, Juan Bernat; Thiago Alcantara, Saul Niguez, Fabian Ruiz; Mikel Oyarzabal, Rodrigo Moreno, Dani Ceballos.
With this, we move on to predicting which team will win today’s match?
Spain are normally a safe bet to win on their travels but Sweden are a hard side to beat on home soil. La Roja have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last three away outings and without Sergio Ramos, they may struggle to do so.
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 6 of Sweden’s last 7 European Championship games. The trend looks likely to continue.
Spain have won their last 3 matches against Sweden in all competitions and though it might not be really easy, they might edge this one too.
Spain are undefeated in their last 7 European Championship matches. Barring any major surprise, they might make it 8.
Sweden have lost just one of their last 10 competitive matches – the reverse fixture against Spain.
Spain have scored 18 goals in the 7 Euro 2020 qualifiers games so far and will in likelihood add to it.
The draw against Norway actually brought to an end a seven-game winning run for La Roja, who will host Malta and Romania in their final two group games next month.