FIFA World Cup ’18: ‘Sweden vs Switzerland Preview

 

From not even supposed to be in World cup to eliminating Netherlands and Italy in qualifying and
topping the group which sent defending champions back home. Sweden have never gone ahead of this position, even with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. They are thriving as a team right now and will be involved in a typical European clash with Switzerland. While Switzerland ranks sixth in the world they are missing key defenders and are up against a side who have accepted that they are not the most artistic team at the tournament and actually enjoy being underdogs. Sweden has played very well defensively, but the match against Mexico showed that they are effective while attacking too. Undoubtedly defense will be the key for Sweden and will be physically challenging for Switzerland. Switzerland have been excellent defensively and are unbeaten in this world cup, holding out Brazil for a 1-1 draw. But, Vladimir Petkovic’s side will be without captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schaer.

Lang and Djourou are expected to slot into the defensive line of Switzerland, and this will be a good
opportunity for Sweden to start strong going forward till the back four of Switzerland get into the game. This could be the key as well, Switzerland have shown the habit of starting matches badly. Sweden on the other hand will be without the experience of Sebastian Larsson and will be replaced by one of Svensson or Hiljemark. Switzerland will be driven by Valon Behrami’s energy and Xherdan Shaqiri’s creativity being emerged from the group while included the tournament favorites Brazil. But they will have to focus less on controversial celebrations and look to split apart the calm and composed Swedish defense.

If Vladimir Petkovic’s side beat Sweden in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday, they will become the first Swiss team in 64 years to qualify for the quarter-finals of World cup. The one emerging out as a winner will face either Columbia or England, the last fixture of this round and will be great achievement for either of these sides.

 

 

 

 

 

Manoj Waykole