Thursday, November 15, 2018

Prediction: Sweden vs South Korea

Ashley Randall in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 17 Jun 2018

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Verdict: Sweden 0-1 South Korea

Best Odds: 17/2

Bookmaker: Bet 365

Sweden and South Korea kick off their World Cup campaign on Monday. With Germany and Mexico also in Group F, both teams know three points is vital if they are to progress.

Sweden

Sweden are competing in their first World Cup since 2006 and they thoroughly deserve their place in Russia. After finishing second in their qualifying group, that included a 2-1 victory over France, they knocked out Italy in the playoffs. Admittedly, the Swedes’ form has dipped a little in their preparations for the tournament, winning just once in four games. Nonetheless, Janne Andersson’s men will still fancy their chances of reaching the last 16. With Germany in their group, however, they will be targeting this match against South Korea for a crucial three points. In recent years, Sweden have managed to rely on the brilliance of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic to drag them through matches. The 36-year-old’s retirement though has meant the focus is more on other individuals to perform. One man who will be attracting attention is Genoa’s Oscar Hiljemark. The central midfielder can unlock stubborn defences in tight matches and he could be star player for Sweden in the next few weeks.

Team News

Marcus Berg has been the man identified to fill the shoes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, with Emil Forsberg in midfield, and Andreas Granqvist in defence, they certainly have quality all over the pitch.

South Korea

This will be the ninth World Cup that South Korea have competed in, and even though they have experience, they are the underdogs to progress from Group F. They finished second in the Asian qualifying process, winning four and drawing three of 10 games, and their form since has been equally inconsistent. In nine matches, Shin Tae-yong’s men have won three and lost three. In fact, South Korea haven’t tasted victory in their last three matches, their latest game resulting in a 2-0 reverse to Senegal. It’s not exactly the form they would have wanted going into a major tournament, but at least they can draw some optimism from Tottenham’s Son Heung-min. The attacker has been formidable in the Premier League this season, and at 25 years of age, this could be the year he really introduces himself on the international stage. South Korea, like Sweden, will be targeting the match on Monday as their best chance of picking up three points, which hopefully will make for an entertaining encounter.

Team News

Even though Son Heung-min is the main man for South Korea, he still has a great supporting cast from the likes of Swansea’s Ki Sung-yeung and Koo Ja-cheol.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Sweden are unbeaten in their four previous encounters against South Korea (W2 D2)
  • Since finishing as runners-up on home soil in 1858, Sweden have progressed past the second round only once
  • Sweden are unbeaten in their last nine group games at the World Cup (W3 D6)
  • South Korea have only won one of their last nine World Cup games (D3 L5)
  • The Swedes have won one of their last seven opening games at the World Cup (D5 L2)

Conclusion

Even though we’re hoping for an entertaining game, that’s not always the case with the opening match. It could be cagey but South Korea can be effective on the counter attack, especially with Son Heung-min in their ranks.

Verdict: Sweden 0-1 South Korea

Best Odds: 17/2

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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