Responsible for the Netherlands and Italy’s absence in the World Cup, Sweden’s comprehensive win over Mexico in their final group game was a critical factor in defending champions Germany’s surprise exit. The Swedes have been quietly efficient, with their transitional based style of play producing excellent shooting accuracy (42% of 36 shots). However, 22 of those shots have fallen to stars Emil Forsberg and Marcus Berg, who are yet to convert any at the tournament. Sweden’s defensive line has also been largely efficient, with two clean sheets to show for their impact, giving up just 8 shots on target across their three group matches.
Sweden vs Switzerland Prediction and Preview
Switzerland’s individuals have been largely underwhelming at Russia 2018, but the collective results in their group, especially against Brazil and Serbia, were to an extent beyond expectations. The Swiss produced a memorable win over a disappointing Serbian side to seal an advantage to progress into the Round of 16 with star player Xherdan Shaqiri saving his best for that game in particular. Unlike their opponents, Switzerland haven’t been great at creating good quality chances (only 10 shots on target from 38 in total), but their conversion rate of 50% is a healthy one, especially for one of the few sides in the tournament who’ve not yet scored a goal via penalty or own goal. Keeper Yann Sommer has had a good start as well between the goalposts with 10 saves, one of only 8 keepers at the World Cup with such a volume thus far.
Sweden’s 442 configuration is big on discipline and direct passing. Coach Jan Olof Andersson is expected to stick with the team that humbled Mexico 3-0, meaning Sweden should be hard to break down and chance quality will be at a premium for the Swiss. The Swedish midfield hasn’t been especially spectacular, and isn’t big on possession, but tends to favour a counter-attacking style anyway. A key issue for Switzerland will be to manage the aerial duels, where Sweden have been especially effective in their past few matches.
Vladimir Petkovic’s patience with lacklustre centre forward Haris Seferovic ran out by the time Switzerland played their final game against Costa Rica, so it’s reasonable to expect either Mario Gavranovic, Josep Drmic or Breel Embolo to feature upfront against the Swedes (Drmic seems the most logical choice). The versatile Steven Zuber should make a return from illness into the front 4, while the rest of the side is expected to remain intact. Sweden will likely want to make life hard for Switzerland’s excellent fullbacks to connect sectors with Shaqiri, Dzemaili and Zuber, so it’ll be curious if Toivonen and Berg are asked to press high into Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji to force them in long passes, favouring the Swedes. Failing that, the Swiss’ 4231 has served them well in creative respects, but Sweden arguably pose the most stubborn defence they’ve faced at the tournament yet.
Match Facts & Summary
|World Cup Base||Gelendzhik||Togliatti|
|2014 World Cup Finish||Did Not Qualify||Round of 16|
|Total Head to Head Record||Played 17, Sweden 10 Wins, Switzerland 10 Wins|
|Head to Head (World Cup Only)||Never played against each other in World Cup|
|Penalty Shootout Record||Won 1 of 1||Won 0 of 1|
|Odds – Result||2.15||1.69|
|Odds – To Win World Cup||65.00||45.00|
|Best Odds – Golden Boot||Berg (184.00)||Unavailable|
|Best Odds – Golden Ball||Forsberg (169.00)||Unavailable|
Sweden and Switzerland represent a curious clash of styles; one more direct, one more focused on possession football. One more efficient in attack, one more elaborate. Neither side has had especially compelling performances overall, but Switzerland have had a few more standout performances from the individuals you’d expect to deliver on the larger stages, particularly Shaqiri, whose dribbling ability and eye for shooting could pose a far more troublesome challenge for Forsberg and Augustinsson to manage. However, Sweden did manage to handle a similar configured team in Mexico and that will give them confidence in how best to approach the Swiss. If Sweden manage to make an early breakthrough, their defensive solidity should see them through. But the longer the game progresses as a stalemate, the advantage will likely swing towards the Swiss corner.
* Please note – odds mentioned above are subject to change, so always check the latest published odds to be fully certain before betting.
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