MEXICO have a real opportunity to hold on to top spot on Group F, but can they do it? Lucas Swain-Britton (@LucasSwain95) tells us all in his preview of their clash with Sweden on Wednesday.
Sweden v Mexico | Wednesday 27th June 2018, 15:00 | BBC
Mexico have been one of the success stories of the group stages with their fantastic victory against Germany and triumph over South Korea. However, in Sweden they have a test they’re yet to face.
Not for one second am I asserting Sweden are betting than Germany, but they’re different opposition; they’re rigid, organised and are quite literally playing for World Cup survival.
Whether one team controls this match will be really interesting, as both like to play it through one player. Hector Herrera and Emil Forsberg, despite the latter being slightly underwhelming, are the real instigators for forward play in the central midfield and will both look to orchestrate.
A draw would be enough for Mexico here to top the group, so you have to factor that into consideration when looking at the betting. Therefore, even the game is looking close in the latter stages you have to believe they’ll take their foot off the gas.
This actually fits the performance of their last match. Their pass map for the match certainly highlights the intensity of the Central Americans took a dive, yet they still managed to come away with the win.
What most national teams will envy when looking towards this side is the overwhelming pride which is bursting at the seams. Javier Hernandez has already been seen in tears once this tournament and if they win this group then it’s a sure bet we’ll see it again.
Sweden’s game plan against Germany was simple but efficient, and that’s perhaps a phrase that perfectly sums up this national team. It’s extremely typical of Scandinavian sides to fit this narrative and Sweden are no different.
Ola Toivonen’s goal was something special with the pass, touch and finish and it was typical of the game. After they acquired the lead, it was sitting deep and long balls towards the front men.
Now the impetuous is for Sweden to attack, it’s going to be interesting to see if and how they modify their game plan.
The betting angle
There’s going to be caution from these sides heading into the match, so I’m extremely tempted to oppose goals in this. However, I’m cautious that the final stages could lead to panic and many players being chucked forward.
Whilst this hasn’t landed in a Mexico match yet, I think I’m going to go with the half time result to be a draw. This may seem like a brave selection, but the last time Sweden had to take a match to someone was South Korea and they struggled to break them down.
Mexico are solid on the counter-attack, but Sweden will be aware of that and shouldn’t throw too many at the opposition until the later stages of the match.
Sweden v Mexico – Half-time draw (21/20 Betfred)