Best Odds: 21/10
After Sweden denied Denmark a place at the Euro 2016 finals by winning the play-offs, Age Hareide’s side will have an extra motive to get one over their rivals, but the good news is that both neighbouring countries have qualified for the 2018 World Cup finals and this will be their penultimate warm-up game for the tournament in Russia.
While they did well to beat their neighbours in said Euro 2016 play-off tie, Sweden largely disappointed in France, taking just one point and crashing out in the group stage. Granted, it was never going to be easy with Italy, Belgium and Republic of Ireland in their group, but there are no doubts Blagult should have done much better. Sweden have since showed some improvement as Jan Olof Andersson took over and they managed to reach the World Cup finals without star player Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Blagult did well to pip Netherlands and Bulgaria to the second place in their qualifying group before shocking Italy in the play-offs and they will now be hoping to build on that result. The head coach has resisted temptation to recall Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the national team after the veteran striker had enjoyed a bright start to his career in the United States and that could prove a very good decision. Revived Marcus Berg and the impressive Emil Forsberg are now the star names on the team sheet, with captain Andreas Granqvist also a key figure.
John Guidetti is unlikely to be risked after picking up an injury in training, while Robin Quaison, Sam Larsson and Niklas Hult are some of the notable players to have been cut from the provisional squad.
Denmark did well to reach last five European Championship finals, reaching the last 8 in 2004, but they missed the 2010 and 2014 World Cups after reaching the first knockout stage at the 2002 and 2006 tournaments. Denmark finished second in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group behind Poland and failed to impress in the first leg of their play-off tie with Republic of Ireland (0-0), but showed massive improvement to win the second match 5-1 and booked their ticket to Russia.
Age Hareide’s side have since defeated Panama 1-0 and played out a goalless draw with Chile, and there are no doubts the head coach was happy to see his men keep clean sheets against two decent international teams. Things will get even more serious as Denmark face Sweden and Mexico in their final two warm-up games, with four players set to be removed from the provisional squad in the coming days.
There were no major surprises in Hareide’s provisional squad, although Daniel Wass, Riza Durmisi and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are all missing out.
Key Factors to Consider
- Sweden defeated Denmark in Euro 2016 play-offs
- They also won the January non-FIFA friendly between the two sides (1-0)
- However, Denmark won their two meetings in the 2010 WC Quals
- Sweden suffered back to back defeats to Chile and Romania
- Denmark kept two clean sheets in a row
Both Sweden and Denmark will be looking to avoid a defeat that could damage the players’ confidence ahead of the World Cup finals and we predict that two evenly matched sides will eventually cancel each other out.
Best Odds: 21/10
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