Friday, November 27, 2020

Prediction: Sweden vs Croatia

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 13 Nov 2020

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Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 33/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

Though placed in a very tough League A Group 3 of the 2020/21 Nations League, alongside the reigning world champions France and European champions Portugal, Sweden and Croatia seemed like teams capable of giving any team a rough ride over a six-round standoff. However, neither have proved it, and much is now at stake for both as they prepare for their clash in Stockholm on Saturday evening.

Sweden

The case is absolutely desperate for Janne Andersson and his team. They sit rock bottom of the group without a single point, having been defeated in all four games so far.

It was very difficult for the Scandinavians from the start. First they were beaten at home by France by 0-1, then Portugal doubled that also in Stockholm – none too embarrassing, given the quality of those opponents, but it put them in an extremely tough position. Then they went to Zagreb and Croatia took advantage by piling more misery by beating them 2-1. At that point, with matches away against Portugal and France still to come, it became obvious that it would be crucial for them to get their revenge against Croatia in this match. Sure enough, Portugal did the business as expected (3-0), and Sweden now find themselves in a situation where they must win on Saturday, or all chance of avoiding relegation will be lost.

On the other hand, Sweden will be happy with the fact that they’ve qualified for the European championship next year, where they are set to face Spain, Slovakia and Poland.

Team News

Andersson will be without the services of the injured defender Pontus Jansson. Everton loanee Robin Olsen is expected to start between the posts, and Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof should be in the heart of defence. Dejan Kulusevski of Juventus should also start, playing wide on the right.

Croatia

Though the finalists of the last World Cup would have hoped for more success in this competition, they are in a somewhat better position that Sweden. Thanks to the win over the Scandinavians in Zagreb mentioned above, they now have three points and a draw here would be enough to guarantee status quo for them.

After losing that final two years ago to them, Croatia were beaten by France twice in this edition of the Nations League; 4-2 in Saint-Denis in the second round and 1-2 in Zagreb in the fourth. The win over Sweden came in between, but the 4-1 defeat against Portugal in Porto came first.

All in all, the Croats will be starting the match in Stockholm with significantly less pressure on their backs and can afford to play with patience.

Team News

Much like his opposite number, Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic cannot count on an experienced central defender in Domagoj Vida, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week. Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic misses out through injury, making it likely that Lovre Kalinic starts despite not making a single appearance for Aston Villa this season yet.

Conclusion

It’s quite clear that Sweden will have to attack from the first whistle, but Croatia are a side with enough quality and experience, quite capable of sitting deeper to absorb the home side’s pressure, as well as of hitting back swiftly through counterattacks.

Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 33/20

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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