It’s a free hit for Sweden, who have already qualified for the last 16, but back them to see off Paulo Sousa’s Group E backmarkers in St Petersburg.
Sweden have done what was necessary to ensure their place in the knockout stages, but back them to sign off their Group E campaign with a flourish.
Okay, perhaps “flourish” is over-stretching it – this is Sweden we are talking about, a team who parked the bus so successfully in their first game of the finals against Spain that they saw just 21 percent of the ball.
They did, however, come away with a 0-0 draw which, coupled with their subsequent 1-0 win over Slovakia, means they can relax at the Krestovsky Stadium.
Poland have no choice but to win having accrued one point from their two games, a 2-1 loss to Slovakia followed by a gutsy 1-1 draw in Spain, which they celebrated like they’d won the cup.
Sweden On The Drift After Booking Last-16 Place
Janne Andersson’s side are
8/5 shots – they were shorter when prices for this match were posted prior to the finals – on the grounds that they notionally have nothing to play for.
For Poland, in contrast, the equation is simple; win and they go through, anything less and they go home, which at least wouldn’t be far but certainly isn’t on their itinerary.
7/4 shots to win just a second match in 10, their only other win since last November coming against minnows Andorra in a World Cup qualifier.
The Poles, ranked three places below Sweden by Fifa, will have enjoyed a massive lift with that draw against the Spanish, even if they did need Gerard Moreno to miss a penalty. But they aren’t winning games and even though the Swedes may well make one or two changes, all the pressure is on Poland.
Isak Can Upstage Lewandowski
Poland’s prospects seem to rely almost solely on one man – Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
Fresh from setting a new record for Bundesliga goals, he found the target against Spain which keeps their qualifying hopes alive. But he needs the service and against Sweden’s resolute and well-disciplined defence there are no guarantees the chances will come his way.
The Poles, on the other hand, are going to have to take risks and that should offer up opportunities for the Scandinavians on the counter. And Alexander Isak, a youngster being talked up as the next Lewandowski, will snap up chances.
The 21-year-old has had a fantastic campaign in La Liga with Socieded, scoring 17 times, and has notched six in 24 for his country. Lewandowski is
11/4 to open the scoring, Isak
9/2 and the Swede may well upstage his rival.
Goals Have Been Scarce in St Petersburg
There’s a temptation to think this could be a high score, with Poland throwing everything at Sweden who will fire back in an end-to-end affair.
Temperatures in St Petersburg, however, are expected to hit the 30s, which is hardly conducive for a free-for-all.
Under 2.5 goals is
5/7 though a better unders to consider might well be 8.5 corners at
9/10. Sweden won’t be taking any risks going forward, Poland will have to be sensible for fear of conceding and the statistics are favourable. Sweden average four corners per game so far, Poland three.
*All odds correct at time of writing.