Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Sweden vs Ukraine Preview

Sweden vs Ukraine Preview

Emil Forsberg has been in fine form for the Swedish

Ukrainian supporters hoisted a combined Ukraine-Sweden flag outside the Swedish embassy in Kiev, with a message written: ‘Thank you, Sweden, for the round of 16.’ Now the quietly impressive Ukraine, under the guidance of Andriy Shevchenko, will attempt to bite the hand that fed them when they face the model of Scandinavian consistency, Sweden. Let’s put this fixture under the microscope and analyse these nations a little more.

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Euro 2020 Round of 16
Tuesday 29 July
Hampden Park
21:00

To Win (90 min)
Sweden 14/10
Draw 2/1
Ukraine 43/20

To Qualify
Sweden 17/10
Ukraine 21/20

Sweden

Getting a point out of their opening fixture against Spain was the deciding factor for Sweden’s following two fixtures. A well deserved three points against Slovakia as well as Poland, saw Janne Andersson’s squad secure top spot in the group leaving the nation with a more favourable draw for the round of 16.

The lightning quick counterattack coupled with a good crossing game has seen the Swedish quickly become a force to reckon with this tournament, and the confidence in the camp as well as for the fans continues to grow as the minutes roll by in every fixture.

 The Swedes are quite arguably one of the best defending nations in this Euro 2020 keeping two clean sheets, but like many over the years, they could not stop Robert Lewandowski.

There seemed to be no breaking the young and old partnership of the absolutely stunning Alexander Isak and classy Marcus Berg over the first two fixtures. Andersson put out the same 4-4-2 formation throughout the group stages as well as the same starting 11 against Spain and Slovakia, before making just one change in which Mainz 05’s forward Robin Quaison replaced the older Berg.

However, the return of Juventus’ Dejan Kulusevski and his two assists in the victory over Poland proves to be a formidable option upfront.

The omission of Sweden’s most renowned player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was questioned at first, but has given opportunity and rise for the younger generation to shine, and they have done just that.

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Ukraine

Ukraine has secured a round of 16 spot from a very unlikely position, qualifying last of the four third best teams with a minus one goal difference. Their group stage campaign has not been worthy of a knockout stage position in my opinion, but they are there non the less, and the time is now for the boys from Ukraine to show that their quality and worth is sufficient for the task at hand.

The Yellow-Blues have the ability to create small areas in the final third in which to pass through quickly to create chances which could work extremely well when facing Sweden’s rigid defensive lines. Although the build-up to these areas seem to be blurred on occasion, Andriy Shevchenko has admitted to his team not fully grasping the concepts he puts forth in a recent post-match interview and this lack of understanding leads to the nation often finding themselves on the backfoot.

However, Ukraine have the strength and desire to break the course of a match, and they did so very well in their narrow defeat to the Netherlands.

Shevchenko has been blessed with a well-oiled defence consisting of three Dynamo Kyiv defenders in right back Oleksandr Karavaiev, centre-back Ilya Zabarnyi, and left-back Vitaliy Miykolenko. Aside from a cohesion in defence, the key players Ukrainians can count on is a surprising Oleksandr Zinchenko in a consistent midfield role and West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko down the right flank.

Shevchenko has stumbled into the round of 16, but the hope of something greater will always be rife. I have no doubt he will prepare his players to go toe-to-toe with the Swedes.

Probable line-ups:
Sweden: (4-4-2): Olsen, Lustig, Lindelof, Danielson, Augustinsson, Larsson, Olsson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Kulusevski, Isak.

Ukraine: (4-3-3): Bushchan, Karavaiev, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Mykolenko, Sydorchuk, Malinovskyi, Zinchenko, Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Zubkov.

Prediction: Sweden Win (14/10)
The only previous competitive meeting between these nations holds a special place in Ukrainian memory, as they made their European Championship debut with a 2-1 win in Kiev, at Euro 2012. Two icons went head-to-head, as Ibrahimovic struck first for the Swedes, while Shevchenko drew level three minutes later, before finding his brace in the 62nd minute.

The Swedish teenager, Alexander Isak, has been outstanding in the group stages, and has come close to finding the net on many occasions. The Real Sociedad forward is itching for a goal and backing that anytime goal scorer market is very enticing with his name top of my list.

Ukraine still have sufficient attacking talent to find spaces in a well-polished Swedish backline and could possibly find the net if they are clinical when the opportunity arises, but the cohesion of the Swedes goes a longer way in my books and will definitely progress to the quarters.

Written by Joshua Gaillard