Sports Mole previews Saturday’s World Cup qualifier – Europe clash between Sweden and Kosovo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sweden will look back to winning ways in Group B as they continue theirs WC 2022 qualification campaign at home to Kosovo on Saturday night.
Janne Anderssons side are currently second in the section with nine points to show from four matches, while Kosovo occupy fourth, after picking up four points from their first five matches.
Sweden will bounce back from their disappointing defeat to Greece as they continue their World Cup qualifier against Kosovo; Andersson’s side were looking for their fourth straight victory in Athens last month but were on the wrong side of a 2-1 point.
The Blues and Yellows have still made an encouraging start to their qualifying campaign, but beat Georgia, Kosovo and Spain in their first three matches to collect nine points.
Sweden is currently second in Group B, three points ahead of third place Greece but four points behind Spain; However, La Roja has played two more matches and collected 13 points from six matches.
Blagult, who were second at the 1958 World Cup, reached the quarterfinals in the 2018 edition of the tournament, while they made the round of 16 at this summer’s European Championships.
Sweden only host Kosovo for the second time in its history, and they won a 3-0 victory when the two international sides locked their horns in the reverse game already in March.
Kosovo, meanwhile, will enter the match behind a 2-0 defeat to Spain last month, and a total of four points from five matches remain Bernard Challandesis in fourth place in the table.
The visitors have a lot of work to do to seriously challenge the qualification, but it is difficult to imagine a scenario where they finish first or second in the group.
Kosovo took just one point from their ten qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, while also struggling to compete during their European Championship 2020 challenge.
Challande’s side were beaten by Sweden in the reverse match in March, but they have picked up four points from their last three matches in the section, including a draw against Greece last month, and underdogs can really make this difficult match for the home team.
Sweden World Cup qualifier – Europe form:
Sweden’s form (all competitions):
Kosovo World Cup Qualifiers – Europe Form:
Kosovo form (all competitions):
Manchester Uniteds Victor Lindelof was late to connect to Sweden’s squad for personal reasons, but the midfielder is expected to be mentioned in start-XI here.
Mattias Johansson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Isaac Kiese Thelin are all absent through injury, however Alexander Isaac is available after a period on the sideline, and the Real Sociedad forward can be merged through the middle of Dejan Kulusevski.
Sweden’s manager Andersson has plenty of options in midfield, but Kristoffer Olsson can only get the nod next to Mattias Svanberg, while Newcastle Uniteds Emil Krafth should have right back.
In the case of Kosovo, Besar Halimi and Lirim Kastrati are both available after shutdown, and the pair are expected to be in the starting XI on Saturday.
Lazio forward Vedat Muriqi is a safety to start in the last third of the field, while there should also be a place for Norwich City Milot Rashica.
Naples Amir Rrahmani and Torino’s Mergim Vojvoda should both start backwards, in the meantime, and there really is quality in the whole squad despite their underdogs status.
Sweden’s possible starting line-up:
Olsen; Krafth, Lindelof, Danielson, Augustinsson; Claesson, Olsson, Svanberg, Forsberg; Isaac, Kulusevsky
Kosovo possible starting lineup:
Muric; Hadergjonaj, Rrahmani, Aliti, Vojvoda; Halimi, Dresevic, Loshaj; Kastrati, Muriqi, Rashica
We say: Sweden 2-1 Kosovo
We do not think this will be as comfortable as some expect, because Kosovo’s squad, and indeed the XI start, will be full of talent. As I said, Sweden will be desperate to bounce back from their defeat against Greece, and we believe that the home team will have enough to put three points on the board.