Saturday, November 25, 2017

Prediction: Sweden vs France

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

Sweden take on France on Friday night in one of the most anticipated World Cup qualifier at Friends Arena in Stockholm, looking to catch up the group leaders and put an extra spin on the race for the top place in Group A.

Sweden

Having largely disappointed at the European Championship in France last summer, Swedish national team went through a minor transformation process ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic decided to call it quits on his international career and the Swedes headed into the new cycle lead by RB Leipzig forward Emil Forsberg who emerged as one on the key men for the Swedish national team in the World Cup qualifiers. The 25-year-old star has scored three goals already and will be the one to watch once again as Sweden hope to continue their strong start in a highly competitive group. Janne Andresson’s men have been pitted against the likes of France, Netherlands and Bulgaria, who were considered group favourites but the Swedes managed to emerge as one of the top contenders for top-two finish. Possible win over Euro 2016 finalists would be a major boost to their confidence and a huge twist on the group developments.

Team News

Robin Olsen is expected to continue on goal, whereas martin Olsson and Ludwig Augustinsson are in competition for left-back.

Oscar Hijlemark and Jimmy Durmaz have their sights set on a starting spot, whereas Janne Andersson faces an attacking dilemma between John Guidetti and Marcus Berg.

France

Les Bleus opened the World Cup qualifying with a somewhat surprising draw at Belarus, but Didier Deschamp’s men have managed to maintain their perfect record in the following four matches in Group A. Potential defeat at Friends Arena would see France surrender its leading spot in the group and les Bleus are expected to give their best to get a positive result against the highly-competitive side. France most certainly have the quality to get the job done in Stockholm and with the prospect of going six points clear ahead of their rivals at stake here, Deschamps is expected to field his strongest line-up. The French boast formidable front line with Atletico Madrid attacked Antoine Griezmann in spectacular form throughout the season, whereas Arsenal outcast Olivier Giroud might have earned his place in the starting berth with his hat-trick against Paraguay last time out. France warmed up for Sweden with a compelling 5-0 friendly victory over the South American country and will travel to Stockholm in high spirits.

Team News

Benjamin Mendy and Lucas Digne compete for left-back position in absence of Layvin Kurzawa.

Blaise Matuidi is expected to retain his midfield position ahead of Chelsea star N’Golo Kante, whereas it would be interesting to see whether Giroud will be given the nod in attack at the expense of Mbappe and Lacazette.

Key Factors to Consider

  • France are coming off from 4 consecutive qualifying wins
  • Sweden won their last three matches in all competitions
  • There were over 2.5 goals scored in Sweden’s last 4 matches
  • Sweden lost three of their last four meetings with France
  • Olivier Giroud scored a hat-trick in his last appearance against Paraguay

Conclusion

France most certainly boasts a quality side, but Sweden are on a mission to show they are not pushovers in Group A. With so much at stake and so little to separate the two sides, what we expect is an openly-contested match.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: Bet365

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