Saturday, July 24, 2021

Prediction: Spain vs Sweden

Verdict: Spain win & under four goals

Best Odds: 20/23

Bookmaker: Unibet

Hoping to open their European adventure with a victory on Monday night after what has been a nightmare week behind the scenes, Spain will host Sweden in Sevilla.

Spain

Starting with the hosts, after dealing with a COVID-19 nightmare over the past week and seeing their preparations take a real hit, the former world champions will be desperate to turn their attention back to on-field matters. Watching their heavily altered squad land a routine 4-0 win against Lithuania in their final friendly matchup, La Roja do find themselves enjoying an extended unbeaten run heading into this summer’s European Championships. With their senior squad eventually having to settle for a 0-0 stalemate against Portugal last week, Luis Enrique’s side did show glimpses of their best despite failing to find the net. With many tipping them as a landslide pick to top Group E, a group they share with Sweden, Slovakia and Poland, the former Barcelona boss finds his side enjoying an eight-match unbeaten run across all formats. With that run highlighted by a stunning 6-0 romp against fellow European giants Germany seven months ago, Spain should be looking to lay down an early marker in Sevilla.

Team News

After returning a positive COVID-19 test, Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets will miss Spain’s opener on Monday night.

However, after returning to training with his teammates, the versatile Diego Llorente could feature.

Sweden

As for the visitors, while Spain might have seen their preparations take a real hit over the past week, Sweden should find the mood in their camp at a high. Managing to squeeze in three pre-tournament friendlies and signing off their run with a 3-1 win against Armenia on home soil, The Yellows also secured victories against both Finland and Estonia. Fancying their chances of securing an automatic route out of Group E potentially behind Monday’s hosts, Head Coach Janne Andersson has really seen his side bounce back from their Nations League nightmare last year. Despite losing their Group A status after a run of form that saw them land just a single win, Sweden did open March’s World Cup qualifiers with a pair of handy wins. In fact, the guests have won each of their last five matchups across all formats, their brightest run since 2013. However, it should be noted, when Sweden last made the trip to Spain back in 2019, they were hit with a 3-0 drumming in the capital.

Team News

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof will start at the heart of Sweden’s defence on Monday.

Enjoying an impressive season with Spanish outfit Real Sociedad, Alexander Isak is expected to lead the line in Sevilla.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two nations last faced off in Spain, Monday’s hosts picked up a thumping 3-0 win in Madrid.
    • Spain are unbeaten in each of their last 13 straight contests on home soil, recording 11 wins.
    • The Yellows have won each of their last five matchups across all formats, their best run of form since 2013.
    • However, Sweden have lost four of their last five matchups on foreign soil.
    • Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno recorded 30 goals for the Europa League winners.

    Conclusion

    While Spain might have seen their final preparations take a real hit over the past week, the former world champions are still tipped as one of the leading contenders this summer. Handed a real chance to claim top spot in Group D and hosting a string of superstars from across Europe, Luis Enrique’s side have also gained a real reputation for their continued success on home soil. Including that stunning 6-0 romp against fellow giants Germany seven months ago, Monday’s hosts are unbeaten in each of their last 13 straight home fixtures, a run that stems back to October 2018. Although Sweden might find themselves enjoying their own purple patch, they certainly face a stern test in Sevilla. Suffering a 3-0 loss when they last made the trip out to Spain, we’re backing a similar home victory on Monday.

    Verdict: Spain win & under four goals

    Best Odds: 20/23

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    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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