Sweden v Netherlands – Friends Arena at 19:45 live on ITV4
What a match we have installed for us here! A reorganised Sweden will host bouncing back Netherlands at the Friends Arena on Tuesday night. Both nations hoping to get off to the perfect start in Group A of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.
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Sweden will have to deal with the fact that their star man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has retired from international football as the talisman was a pivotal part of the Swedish attack and hopes of achieving success in a major competition. On top of this, Kim Kallstorm and goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson also ended their time with Sweden making 264 appearances in total. Now, Janne Andersson will be hoping the team can pull together and work harder as a side aiming to make it to Russia in two years time.
Heading into this competitive match, the Swedes had a dismal European Championships not winning a single match and finishing fourth in their group, scoring one goal in three matches. Furthermore, form-wise, they have only won two of their last ten matches in all competitions after finishing third in their qualifying group for Euro 2016.
In the current squad, Marcus Berg is the countries main outlet for goals having netted ten times in 41 appearances and centre-back Andreas Granqvist is named as the new captain. In other areas, Andersson has named uncapped defender Filip Helander in the squad having recently signed for Serie A side Bologna.
What will be in the back of Sweden’s minds is that they have not managed to qualify for the last two World Cups, having previously made the Round of 16 in both 2002 and 2006. Overall, with a new squad, and the old guard leaving, it may be a harder task than first pictured.
Netherlands, meanwhile, will want to make up for their missed opportunity of not qualifying for Euro 2016 and aim to bounce back in pure Dutch style with an early win in Sweden. Danny Blind and co. heads into this match having won three of their last five, yet their last match ended in a 2-1 defeat at home to Greece in a friendly; Georginio Wijnaldum giving the hosts an early lead.
At home and Holland have only lost two of their previous ten in all competitions, but here’s where it gets interesting as the Dutch have only lost once from their last 20 matches on the road with their last World Cup qualifier ending in a 2-0 win against Turkey in 2013.
Danny Blind has gone for a mixture with his current selection, giving fresh faces Davy Propper and Jorrit Hendrix a call-up, holding three caps between them, as well as experienced midfielder Wesley Sneidjer hoping to make his 123rd appearance for Holland.
2015 to 2016 was a disaster for Netherlands, in a group they should have won to finishing fourth behind the likes of Iceland and Czech Republic. But now under Danny Blind we may be looking at a nation that could do some damage and push on to qualify for Russia.
The last time these two nations met, Sweden won 3-2 in 2011. However, Netherlands have never won in Sweden only recording three wins at home.
I’m looking at a Netherlands win for this match. Sweden are missing key figures and they haven’t had enough time to adapt to that. The Netherlands have had plenty preparation to get together and work on a plan to make up for lost time.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Netherlands -0.25 @ 2.02 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.