The Friends Arena will host a meeting between last summer’s World Cup quarter-finalists Sweden and the out of form Malta as the pair do battle in their third Euro 2020 qualification fixture. The hosts should be more confident having had a healthy experience in Russia’s tournament 12 months ago, however they are just one point ahead of their opponents in Group F. This is the first time the two have faced one another in competitive competition, so they won’t know all that much about each other, but one things is for certain: this match means everything to both countries. Sweden are desperate to get back into yet another major international competition, while Malta are hoping to take part in one for the first time in the nation’s footballing history.
Sweden v Malta betting preview
Ever since that disappointing result against England at the World Cup of last year, Sweden have struggled to maintain good form and have been unable to win more than two games on the spin. In spite of this, they actually finished top of their group in the UEFA Nations League on seven points through victories over Turkey and Russia in the final outings. Friendlies versus Finland and Iceland proved disheartening as neither game saw them come out victorious, with Finland beating Sweden by one goal to nil and the surprise package of Euro 2016 holding Janne Andersson’s men to a stalemate away from home. That defeat on home soil in January was the last occasion in which Sweden were on the wrong end of a result though, having beaten Romania 2-1 and drawn 3-3 in a thriller with fellow Nordic side Norway in the first two encounters of these qualifiers. Victory in this one could create a gap between themselves and the chasing pack, or even send them top of the pile depending on other results in the group, so Sweden will be well up for it.
Malta’s history in qualifiers suggests that enjoying a World Cup campaign similar to what Sweden did last year is something of a dream, as they have never even partaken in a major international competition. However, this could be a real chance for Ray Farrugia’s team to make a name for themselves as they sit only a single point behind second place, and level on points with third. Malta came into these Euro 2020 qualifiers on a horrendous run of form, winless in the six preceding fixtures and defeated in half. A solid 2-1 victory against the Faroe Islands may prove crucial in their quest to become heroes in their home nation, and they can be forgiven for coming out second best when hosting the former European and World champions in Spain. There were plenty of positives to take from these first two meetings, notably the fact that they held the Spaniards to just one goal in each half, and they will be very eager to put their country on the map by causing a massive upset on Friday night.
Sweden vs Malta Team News
In each of the two opening Euro 2020 qualifiers, Sweden have lined up with a 4-4-2 formation, scoring five goals in that time. Evidently, it has helped the side get amongst the goals more, however they have also shipped four goals in two outings. It is likely that this is something they will have been working on in training and it’s expected that Andersson will set his side out similar to recent matches with Marcus Berg and Robin Quaison leading the line. Thankfully, from a Swedish standpoint, there are no injury worries within the camp, so the manager should have a full squad to choose from.
Malta’s formations against Faroe Islands and Spain differed greatly for obvious reasons, as they looked to halt the Spanish attacking threat and sought a more adventurous approach when hosting the side ranked 102nd on the FIFA World Rankings. Upin the visit of Faroe Islands, Malta began with a 4-3-3 formation, whereas against Spain the boss decided to go for the lesser used 5-4-1 in an attempt to create a blockade. This worked to a certain extent and is certainly a feature they would not to work on should they qualify for next year’s tournament. Captain Michael Mifsud won’t make the trip to Stockholm due to a minor injury, while midfielder Matthew Guillaumier and defender Karl Micallef are also forced to the sidelines. Other absentees include Jean Paul Farrugia, Sliema Wanderers and Jurgen Degabriele.
Reasons for Sweden vs Malta Betting Tips
Sweden to win and BTTS at 7/2 with Skybet – Despite their poor record, Malta have actually scored in six of their past eight matches, including in two of their last three. Sweden should be too much for their opponents though and with just one defeat in eight games it’s difficult to see anything other than a win for the hosts.
BTTS and over 2.5 goals with Skybet – Half of Malta’s last eight games have had over 2.5 goals, only one of which came as victories for them, while all three of Sweden’s last three matches have seen more than 2.5 goals, none of which ended in defeat and all of which had both teams score at least once.