Verdict: Russia win
Best Odds: 1/1
Looking to carry on their impressive run of form from this summers World Cup finals, Russia will welcome a struggling Sweden side to the Stadion Kaliningrad on Thursday night.
Starting with Stanislav Cherchesov’s Russia side, while this summers World Cup hosts may have been out of form entering the tournament, their heroics have breathed new life into Russia’s national side. Knocking out 2010 champions Spain in an iconic penalty shoot-out victory, while they may have fallen to Croatia in the quarterfinals, once again on spot kicks, Russia were arguably this summers surprise package. Continuing the positive atmosphere in their camp, along with picking up a 2-1 win over Turkey in their UEFA Nations League opener, they put in a very eye-catching showing after putting five past the Czech Republic last month. Thursday’s hosts will also be boosted by their recent record against the Yellows. Cherchesov’s side are now unbeaten in their last three matches against Sweden and they have won both their clashes on home soil, without conceding a single goal in return.
Long-serving goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev announced his international retirement after the World Cup and is likely to be replaced by Andrey Lunev, who started Russia’s previous match.
Midfielder Aleksandr Golovin, who missed Russia’s last International round-up is now available after recovering from his injury.
As for Janne Andersson’s Sweden side, while the Yellows may have also made it to the quarterfinals of this summers World Cup, Thursday’s hosts have been drastically short of form since returning from Russia. Despite leading by two goals at home to Turkey in their UEFA Nations League opener, Sweden slipped three late goals and have now lost their last three matches on the bounce. A side drastically short of form, while Andersson’s outfit did manage to pick up two wins at the finals this summer, the Yellows will be needing to improve on their recent record on the road if they stand any chance of avoiding relegation. Outside of their World Cup group stages, their 4-0 win over Belarus back in September of last year is now their only win in their last seven matches away from the Friends Arena.
Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist missed the match against Turkey through illness but the defender, who is reportedly attracting interest from Manchester United, will likely return to the starting line-up in Russia.
Playmaker Emil Forsberg is back in the squad after missing the last round of International fixtures with an injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- Russia are unbeaten in their last three matches against Sweden (W2, D1).
- 12 of Sweden’s last 16 matches have finished with fewer than three goals.
- Sweden, since their World Cup campaign, have lost all games so far.
- Russia have managed just one clean sheet in their last 15 fixtures.
- Denis Cheryshev scored four goals this summer and finished joint second in the goalscoring charts.
While Russia have struggled with some defensive issues, it is hard to bet against a side enjoying their post World Cup exploits. Unbeaten in their last three matches against the Sweds and also scoring seven in their last two, we’re backing Stanislav Cherchesov’s to make it two wins on the bounce in the inagrual UEFA Nations League on Thursday.
Verdict: Russia win
Best Odds: 1/1
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!