GOALS could be a luxury when Switzerland take on Sweden in the Last 16. Lucas Swain-Britton (@LucasSwain95) gives us his thoughts and best bets in the afternoon kick-off on Tuesday.
Switzerland v Sweden | Tuesday 3rd July 2018, 15:00 | BBC
If there’s one thing the World Cup in Russia will be remembered for it will be how strange it has been. With Spain, Germany, Portugal and Argentina heading home in the earlier stages, there’s a real opportunity for ‘lesser’ nations to flourish.
This Last 16 clash sees Sweden take on Switzerland, and I suspect the Swiss were eyeing up second place in the group for the whole tournament but they certainly wouldn’t have envisaged playing the Scandinavians.
There’s a real opportunity for either side to achieve a successful World Cup by hitting the quarter-finals and neither of the potential opposition in England or Colombia will strike a fear that sends a nation quivering.
With penalties being at the forefront of seemingly every World Cup game at the moment the Swedes have found an unlikely hero in Andreas Granqvist. The 33-year-old defender has notched twice for his national side at this tournament with spot kicks.
There was talk surrounding the defender being unable to make this match. Despite being captain of his country, he is expecting the arrival of his second child on the same day of the match.
Nonetheless the former-Wigan man has confirmed he’ll be the one to lead the charge for Sweden’s first quarter-final in a major tournament since 2004.
A Close Encounter
It may not carry the quality of a Steven Spielberg movie, but you can expect Sweden versus Switzerland to be a close encounter.
Knockout matches tend to be lowest scoring anyway, if you’ve been keeping your eye on Mark O’Haire’s content on this website you’ll know the average goals drop from around 2.50 per-game to the 2.10 region.
However, if you look even deeper into the stats when European nations face-off with one another, you’ll see that 63% of matches since the 1990 World Cup see Under 2.5 Goals.
The flip argument to this is, Swtizerland have conceded in every single World Cup match to date at the tournament, including against Costa Rica who are particularly blunt in attack.
When you factor in Sweden have been robust and defensively sound, it’s hard to see why Switzerland are the favourites. Germany are the only side to breach their defence in a fortunate finish from Marco Reus and a moment of brilliance by Toni Kroos.
The angle in this one is opposing goals, as despite an impressive performance versus Mexico when they scored three, Sweden matches are traditionally low-scoring.
We’ve already talked about how these matches tend to avoid goals, so I won’t go over that again. However, I want to combine the lack of goals whilst keeping Sweden onside.
My main pick for this one is going to be Sweden double chance and Under 2.5 Goals, but I’m going to advise taking a play in the Draw No Bet market as well as I’m stunned Sweden are going off at over 2/1.