Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier – Europe clash between Sweden and Greece, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sweden will make sure to move to the top of Group B as they continue their WC 2022 qualification campaign at home to Greece on Tuesday night.
Janne Anderssonis currently second in the section, one point behind the leaders Spain, while Greece takes third, three points behind Sweden on its way into this important meeting.
Sweden suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat in Greece last month but returned to winning in an impressive way on Saturday night, as a goal from Emil Forsberg, Alexander Isaac and Robin Quaison saw them play a 3-0 victory over Kosovo in Solna.
Andersson’s side have won four and lost one of their five matches in the section to collect 12 points, which has left them one point behind Spain, who have played one more match.
As a result, Sweden would go to the top of Group B with a victory on Tuesday, and a positive result against Greece would lead them nicely into next month’s last two matches against Georgia and Spain.
The blue and yellow – 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, so it would be a surprise if they were not present at next year’s competition.
Sweden has only won one of its seven previous matches against Greece in all competitions, but as mentioned, it suffered a 2-1 defeat in a reverse match in the section.
Greece, meanwhile, will enter Tuesday’s match off the back of a 2-0 victory over Georgia, with Anastasios Bakasetas and Dimitris Pelkas netting in the second half stop time.
John van ‘t Schips side have now won their last two Group B matches to advance to nine points, and a win on Tuesday would give them a serious chance to finish either first or second in the group.
Greece did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup but was present in the tournaments in 2010 and 2014 and made it to the round of 16 seven years ago.
Sky Blues and Whites, who have home matches against Spain and Kosovo next month, did not qualify for the European Championships 2016, however, so it has been seven years since they last competed in a major tournament.
Greece’s only previous defeat against Sweden came in the group stage for Euro 2008, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Petter Hansson made a loss of two goals.
Sweden World Cup qualifier – Europe form:
Sweden’s form (all competitions):
Greece World Cup Qualifier – Europe Form:
Form of Greece (all competitions):
Sweden may once again be without services from Manchester United’s midfielder Victor Lindelof, who did not join the squad at the scheduled time for personal reasons.
Head coach Andersson chose a 4-4-2 formation against Kosovo, with Dejan Kulusevski working with Isaac in the final third, and it would not be a surprise to see the same side get to the field.
Quaison came off the bench to score on Saturday but is expected to be among the substitutes again, while Forsberg can operate outside the left for the home team.
As for Greece, Liverpool Kostas Tsimikas should operate in a backback area, while captain Bakasetas could once again be in a slightly deeper area, as was the case against Georgia.
Vangelis Pavlidis and Giorgos Masouras is also expected to retain his place in the starting line-up, while Manolis Siopis is likely to continue in a midfield area.
Head coach Van ‘t Schip has plenty of options for change, but in the end it could be the same XI who went to the field for the first whistle against Georgia.
Sweden’s possible starting line-up:
Olsen; Krafth, Danielsson, Nilsson, Augustinsson; Claesson, Olsson, Ekdal, Forsberg; Isaac, Kulusevsky
Greece’s possible starting line-up:
Vlachodimos; Chatzidiakos, Mavropanos, Tzavellas; Androutsos, Bakasetas, Siopis, Bouchalakis, Tsimikas; Masouras, Pavlidis
We say: Sweden 2-1 Greece
This will be a fascinating battle, and Spain will look closely to see what happens. Sweden was excellent against Kosovo last time, but Greece has now won its last two in the section; we are expecting a close match on Tuesday but have just faced a narrow home success.