Monday, December 11, 2017

Prediction: Holland vs Sweden

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: Bet365

In the final matchday of Group A, we finally get to see a matchup that had previously been tipped as the match that would decide who would secure that all-important second-place finish. But, following Sweden’s midweek 8-0 win over Luxembourg, Holland will know that they’re in desperate need of a miracle if they want to avoid missing out on two consecutive major tournaments.

Holland

Even the most diehard of Dutch supporters will know that on Tuesday evening, the Amsterdam ArenA will have to host one of European football’s greatest turnarounds. Can the Dutch still qualify for next years World Cup finals? Yes, but only mathematically. If ‘The flying Dutchmen’ do want to miraculously book their place for Russia, they will have to beat Sweden by SEVEN or more goals.

With Holland’s fate all but sealed, Dick Advocaat’s side will be looking to end their failed campaign on a high note in front of their home support. For Holland’s new boss, he has managed to do an admirable job in turning the Dutch fortunes around, even tho five of his original call-ups have withdrawn from the squad, Holland have still managed to put together a solid run of results, even against lesser opposition, Holland have only lost one of their last six matches.

With the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Robin Van Persie and Quincy Promes all missing out, Holland have been reliant on star man Arjen Robben to carry the oranges side. As for their form at home, the Dutch have averaged three goals per game when playing in front of their home support, the only problem is, Advocaat’s team have only managed to keep one clean sheet in eight attempts. Goals for both sides look like the most likely outcome here.

Team News

It looks like it will be an unchanged side for Holland on Tuesday night. After beating Belarus 3-1 last time out, former forgotten Liverpool man Ryan Babel who impressed midweek looks like he is set for a place over Memphis Depay, despite the Lyon winger coming off the bench and scoring in the game.

Sweden

Although Sweden appear to have already all but guaranteed their playoff spot, The Swedes have reason to do more than simply shut up shop and try to avoid an improbable seven-goal defeat.

Much like Holland who have an outside chance of qualifying for the finals, Sweden can still mathematically finish Group A as the champions and secure their automatic qualification. But, similar to the Dutch, they will need a miracle of their own. Janne Andersson’s men currently sit second in the group, two points behind the pack leaders, France. While Sweden will be battling it out with Holland in Amsterdam, France will be taking on Belarus and if the French do somehow drop any points, a Swedish victory will see the men in yellow clinch the top spot.

Judging by their performances in a rather tricky group, Sweden have become a real team to keep an eye on. Minus their captain and leader Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden have still managed to consistently find the net. Averaging almost three goals a game during qualifying, Sweden can thank their new found hero Marcus Berg, after scoring four goals on Saturday, the striker now has a record of eight games, eight goals.

Team News

With only a blip against Bulgaria in August, Janne Andersson’s side have been in great form and they look to have at the very least secured a playoff spot. In terms of their side, Sweden only have one notable potential absentee, Celtic right-back Mickael Lustig has missed training and looks like he could miss Sweden’s final game.

In the other half of the pitch, Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen who combined for five of Sweden’s eight goals look set to start up front together once again.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Last time the two sides met they drew 1-1
  • There have been over 3 goals in all of Holland’s last 7 matches
  • Holland have to win by 7 plus goals to qualify for the finals
  • Swedish striker Marcus Berg has 8 goals in 8 games
  • Sweden have scored 12 goals in their last 2 games

Conclusion

Even tho the idea of seeing Holland winning this by a seven-goal margin is almost laughable, the Dutch will try to give their fans something to take away from the match and look certain that they will attack from the first whistle.

This could really be a game for the neutrals, with both sides in good goalscoring form but also with a reputation for shipping the odd goal themselves, it looks like a busy night for both goalkeepers.

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: 8/15

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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