These two are now first and second in their group and cruised through their last game with relative ease, can Sweden spring a surprise or will the Spaniards show their class?
Spain looked like they could be involved in some turbulence when the Faroe Islands pulled a goal back around the half hour mark after Spain had raced in to a two goal lead, however normality was quickly resumed as they went in to the break leading 3-1; Jose Gaya added a fourth around 70 minutes to see out a comfortable victory. Incredibly, all the Spanish goals were scored by defenders. Sergio Ramos found the net as he became the man with the most international victories for Spain, former Manchester City winger and now converted right back – Jesus Navas also got his name on the scoresheet with one of the four being an own goal.
Spain are firm favourites at 1.17, with Sweden out at 13.0. It’s to be expected that Spain are such favourites but Sweden’s price is huge for a team who have shown themselves to be solid and who reached the world cup quarter finals in the summer, which is of course further than Spain got themselves.
The Swedes brushed aside Malta in a 3-0 home victory but this will be a whole new test. Even a Sweden win or draw is priced out at 4.33 so you can see what the bookies make of their chances. The Spanish are notoriously strong at home, having lost just one game there in 15 years when England triumphed with a 3-2 win back in October of last year. Sweden are well drilled and highly structured, they’ll stay compact and look to keep Spain at arm’s length. A Spain win and over 1.5 goals at 1.4 looks like a solid selection to me.
I would expect to see some heavy rotation from the Spaniards in particular, many players were given what would be considered unlikely starts. Santi Cazorla had an incredible season for Villareal but he’ll likely rotate out as not to overstretch him given that he is ageing. David De Gea could come back in to the line up to replace Kepa, who had little to do against the Faroes. Jordi Alba will hope to be restored to his left back position, however Jose Gaya would likely feel a bit unjust though given his strong performance and goal scoring exploits last time out. There’s a pool of talent to be called on for Spain, we may see Marco Asensio, Rodrigo and Sergio Busquets all make an appearance.
Sweden started at pretty much full strength against Malta, which wasn’t completely expected. The thoughts seemed to be that they’d rotate a few positions in order to have everyone in peak condition for this trip. Robin Quaison is their main goal threat as Marcus Berg continues to struggle in front of goal, he’s at 7.5 to score anytime but I think it’ll be a tough ask for the visitors to get much service to him. Sweden have lacked a true focal point in attack ever since the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and it has cause a lot of issues for them. It was very apparent in the World Cup how much they needed a quality goal scorer, even though they had a relatively good run.
Spain are currently in the midst of a bit of a rebuilding process since their tragic World Cup exit, many players are being rotated in and out, both young and old as the exploration to find their strongest starting eleven continues. However they still have a huge pool of some of Europe’s best players and I think they should come through relatively comfortably to win. Sweden don’t pose enough of a threat going forward to upset a strong Spanish defence. A score line of 2-0 in favour of the hosts looks good at 5.5.
Spain win and over 1.5 goals @ 1.4
Rodrigo to score anytime @ 2.1
Spain to win 2-0 @ 5.5