A Scandinavian contest see’s two closely matched sides take the field. Can Norway kick start their campaign or will Sweden make it two wins from two?
Two strong starts with different outcomes
On paper this looks to be one of the tightest groups outside of first place. Everyone is of course backing Spain to take top spot with relative ease, but the battle for second looks very intriguing, these two sides will compete with Romania for that spot, with Malta and the Faroe Islands likely to prop up the group.
Sweden came through a tough opening game with a win. They defeated Romania 2-1, but the sides looked very evenly matched and it was further evidence of a really hard to call group. Sweden made it to the quarter finals of the World Cup in the summer before being knocked out by England. The Swede’s have often struggled for goals, having never found someone to pick up Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s mantle. Robin Quaison found the net on Saturday, he’ll lead the line alongside Marcus Berg who has never quite produced what has been expected of him for his country.
Norway fell to defeat in their opening game, but were close to securing a fantastic result away to Spain. They dragged themselves back to level terms when Bournemouth forward Josh King converted a penalty, but Sergio Ramos scored a cheeky Panenka penalty of his own to take the points for the hosts. It could’ve been different, as long before Josh King’s equaliser, Norway missed a golden opportunity to head in to the break on level terms. A swift counter attack saw the ball pulled square for Tarik Elyounoussi, but he somehow managed to divert the ball away from the empty net from just a few yards out. His place in the side looks under threat with Ola Kamara looking likely to take his place. Kamara is now joint shortest odds for a goal on Tuesday night, along with Josh King, the pair are priced at 6.5 first and 3.3 anytime.
Key men missing for Swedes
Celtic full back Mikael Lustig was forced off against Romania, his replacement Emil Krafth will likely start now at right back. More issues in defence have arisen as Pontus Jansson and Victor Lindelof have returned to their clubs due to injury. This means Belogna defener Fillip Helander will partner veteran Andreas Granqvist at centre back. Sweden’s biggest miss will be Emil Forsberg, he has withdrawn with injury which is a huge blow, it now steeps more pressure on the likes of Viktor Claesson to produce a top quality performance and provide the creative spark to get Sweden going.
Norway are in much better shape, with just the one injury to report; Berger Meling has withdrawn from the squad which means former Hull City right back Omar Elabdellaoui will be the starter at right back indefinitely.
The last three meetings between these sides that have taken place in Norway have ended in a draw. With each of those matches seeing under 2.5 goals and with Sweden’s often lacklustre attack this game could go a similar way. Under 2.5 goals is priced at 1.57, and the bookies fancy this to be a low scoring affair, with over 2.5 goals priced out at 2.25.
Both sides are sturdy in defence but not overly creative in attack, Sweden will be hurt by the loss of Emil Forsberg as they don’t have a replacement of that quality. Norway will be keen to use their admirable display against Spain as drive to take the three point here. I think a draw could be a good bet at 3.2, as both sides may struggle to break one another down.
Josh King to score anytime @ 3.3
Under 2.5 goals @ 1.57
Halftime/full Time – draw/draw @ 4.2