Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Prediction: Sweden vs Chile

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 11/8

Bookmaker: 888sport

Chile and Sweden will meet for the second time in the past 12 years, and there will be a massive atmosphere for this friendly game in Stockholm. On one hand, Sweden will try to determine which players are good enough for the World Cup. Meanwhile, Chile will try to begin a rebuilding process after they were shockingly eliminated from the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers.

Sweden

Sweden produced one of the biggest shocks in World Cup Qualifiers history when they defeated Italy to clinch a spot in Russia. The Scandinavian side finished second in Group A (behind France but in front of the Netherlands) and pulled quite an upset against Italy, so there is no question they arrive into this game with their morale quite high. However, manager Janne Andersson has several questions to answer in the remaining friendly matches. Who will start at goalkeeper and left-back seem to be the obvious questions for now, and Chile will prove to be a great measurement of where the team is right now when there are roughly three months left to start the World Cup. Sweden got squared in Group F with South Korea, Mexico, and reigning champions Germany. It is by no means an easy group.

Team News

Sweden will have three absentees ahead of this game.

Ludwig Augustinsson (back), Albin Ekdal (back) and Jakob Johansson (undisclosed) have all been ruled out. Aditionally, there are doubts whether goalkeeper Robin Olsen will be available or not.

Chile

Surprisingly, Chile did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup despite the fact they won the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, and finished second in the 2017 Confederations Cup. A negative run down the stretch in the Qualifiers saw them lose three of the final four games, including key games against Paraguay at home and Bolivia on the road. That failure caused Juan Antonio Pizzi to leave the side, and Colombian tactician Reinaldo Rueda took over. This will be the first game for the new coaching staff so the jury is still out on whether he would represent an upgrade or not, but the early signs are promising. He will try to start a rebuilding process led by U-25 players featuring abroad – such as Guillermo Maripan, Nicolas Castillo, Paulo Diaz and others – but the undisputed leaders of the team will continue to be Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Gary Medel, Claudio Bravo, and Charles Aranguiz. Will this mixture work out well?

Team News

Chile will have several absentees ahead of this game.

Claudio Bravo rejected the call-up, and players such as Gonzalo Jara, Marcelo Diaz and Jorge Valdivia did not make the squad either. Gary Medel will also miss the game due to a suspension.

Key Factors to Consider

  • These two sides met roughly 12 years ago, and in that game, things ended with a 1-1 draw. Henrik Larsson scored for Sweden, and Humberto Suazo netted a goal for Chile.
  • Chile are one of the biggest teams that won’t play in the upcoming World Cup. They finished sixth in the CONMEBOL standings, and failed to clinch a playoff spot solely based on their goal differential.
  • Meanwhile, Sweden clinched a World Cup berth after eliminating Italy in the UEFA World Cup Playoffs. They won the tie 1-0 on the aggregate score.
  • Chile lost three of their last four Qualifiers games, including their road trips to Bolivia and Brazil.
  • This will be the first game for Chile’s new manager Reinaldo Rueda. He previously qualified both Honduras and Ecuador to the World Cup. Will he do the same thing for Chile?

Conclusion

Both teams will enter this game looking to find alternatives on the attacking end in order to avoid dependency on their star players, and both teams will have to adjust to at least one absence on the defensive end of the pitch.

This game has the potential to be quite open, so I see both teams scoring at least once.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 11/8

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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