Sweden vs Switzerland - Preview - World Cup 2018

Sweden vs Switzerland - Preview - World Cup 2018

Sweden and Switzerland face each other in a low-profile game to wrap-up the Round of 16 fixtures on Tuesday afternoon in Saint Petersburg. Despite many not giving them much of a chance to progress, the Scandinavians surpassed all expectations and did what was needed against Mexico. Whilst the Swiss side expectedly came runners-up to Brazil in their respective group. 

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FIFA World Cup
Sweden vs Switzerland 
Round of 16
Tuesday 3 June 
Saint Petersburg Stadium 
20:00

To Win
Sweden 2/1
Draw 37/10
Switzerland 33/20

Sweden

After starting with a 1-0 victory over South Korea, the Swedes were hurt by a last-minute goal from Toni Kroos to lose the second-round 2-1 against the previous champions, Germany. The Scandinavians showed huge mental strength to come back and produce their best performance of the tournament in what turned out to be a 3-0 thrashing of the Mexicans. 

Ludwig Augustinsson opened the scoring five minutes upon the restart. Their captain Andreas Granqvist doubled the lead from the spot kick in the 62nd minute, while an own goal from Edson Alvarez sealed the victory for Sweden in the 74th minute.

The Swedes will be without midfielder Sebastian Larsson, after the AIK star picked up an injury and might miss the rest of the World Cup. Janne Andresson should start with his usual 4-4-2, with Ola Toivonen and Marcus Berg leading the attack. 

There’s not much separating the two teams on head-to-head stats as they have met 14 times with both teams with five wins each and four draws. However, this will be their first clash at a major tournament as most of their previous games came from the qualifications of both the World Cup and Euro. 

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Switzerland 

Switzerland kicked-off their World Cup campaign with a draw against the mighty Brazilians, although many felt their equalizer shouldn’t have been given after Steven Zuber pushed Miranda before heading the ball. The second match against Serbia saw the Swiss players coming from a goal down and scored the second goal in last minutes of the match to win 2-1. 

Their last game ended in a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica, although they were minutes away from winning the game, conceding an own goal three minutes into added time. 

Switzerland will be tested at the back as right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner and central defender Fabian Schar are both suspended for this clash and midfielder Zuber is set to miss due to illness.

Probable line-ups:
Sweden: 4-4-2
Olsen; Augustinsson, Granqvist, Lindelof, Lustig; Forsberg, Ekdal, Svensson, Claesson; Toivonen, Berg.

Switzerland: 4-2-3-1
Sommer; Rodriguez, Akanji, Djourou, Lang; Xhaka, Behrami; Embolo, Dzemaili, Shaqiri; Seferovic.

Prediction: Sweden Win (2/1)
I’m expecting a low-scoring game here as both teams are known for their rock-solid defensive performances and you should not be tricked by the number of goals the Swiss conceded in the group stages. Sweden produced yet another stunning defensive display against a quick attacking side of Mexico. Janne Andresson’s men will be full of confidence ahead of this game. They showed great mental stability after their unfortunate loss to Germany and I’m expecting them to get a narrow win as Switzerland will be missing two of their main defenders.

Written by Banele Pikwa

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