France VS Sweden Prediction
France achieved an important victory after a journey to the Netherlands, but “Les Bleus” must fortify Paris and choose proper strategy at the same time, when Sweden arrives for a game from round 4 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Both nations share same number of points on the top two positions in group A of the European Qualifiers, where France and Sweden have two wins and a draw after first three rounds, respectively 7 points with the same goal difference – 5:1. This virtually means we have a first-position decider on Sunday night when France won’t be pleased by anything else than a third successive victory, whilst Sweden’s new generation plays the role of an absolute underdog before game at the “Stade de France”.
Head-to-head (H2H) record: France vs Sweden
France holds a positive record in 19 previous meetings with Sweden, having 9 victories against 5 for The Swedes. However, Sweden can boast with a win in the last competitive encounter between both sides, when France and Sweden met at the UEFA Euro 2012 finals in Ukrainian capital Kyiv. That game was part from the last group stage round and Sweden played only for its honour, since they were already eliminated after losing in first two legs, but France had to tremble about their second position. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Seb Larsson, who also delivered the ball to Ibrahimovic, were both goal scorers for “The Blågult” and this actually remains last victory for Sweden on a major football tournament, after a very frustrating performance at the UEFA Euro 2016 finals in France.
France on its turn holds not only a positive record, but “Les Bleus” have also won the last meeting between both sides, which took place two years ago – friendly match played on the 18th of November 2014. France of Didier Deschamps won against Erik Hamrén’s Sweden at the “Stade Vélodrome” in Marseille, but Didier Deschamps’ men had to wait until the 84th minute, when Raphael Varane scored the winning goal, while two minutes later Karim Benzema missed to score a penalty and to make French victory even more emphatic.
Meanwhile France’s latest victory in a competitive game over Sweden dates from 28 April 1993, when Gerard Houllier’s squad made a full comeback at the “Parc des Princes” in French capital Paris. Martin Dahlin has opened the score for Thomas Svensson’s selection after only 14 minutes, but after a brace by Eric Cantona, “Les Bleus” have earned the full set of points. Nevertheless, France finished on third position in that qualifying group and they’ve missed the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals in the USA, while Sweden and Bulgaria found themselves on the top two positions. Later on both teams which were the black cat on France’s path met in a third-place decider, so we can say that back then France became a victim of probably best football generations Sweden and Bulgaria ever had.
France vs Sweden – Team News and Match Preview
It’s provocative to note that except Sweden, Bulgaria is also one of the teams we have in group A of the 2018 FIFA World Cup UEFA qualifiers, but Bulgarians are a pale copy of that glorious squad from the 90’s, while Sweden have their own chances to claim for a top 2 positioning. Even more, if Janne Andersson finds the right approach to cause a massive upset for the French side on Friday night, Sweden can even dream for the first position, which secures direct qualification to the finals in Russia, unlike the second place. So we can say that every nation aims towards first position in any group, since one of the second-placed teams won’t make it even to the playoffs and competition is truly fierce.
Sweden began its qualifying campaign with a home draw (1-1) vs the Netherlands, which was first game for Sweden after losing to Belgium in Nice, in their last UEFA Euro 2016 fixture. Such a result can be well-received by the fans and that’s not because Dutch team represents some extra quality at the moment, but because Sweden must rebuild and former coach of IFK Norrköping Janne Andersson has been the chosen one for that job. The 54-year-old Swedish coach, who surprisingly won the 2015 Allsvenskan, will have one serious challenge and most of our readers probably know that experienced names like Andreas Isaksson, Erik Johansson, Mikael Antonsson, Erkan Zengin, Pontus Wernbloom, Kim Källström and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have decided to retire from international football after the UEFA Euro 2016.
Nevertheless, Sweden will be keen to take a raid to France influenced by two consecutive victories in which Janne Andersson’s men were very inefficient for a narrow success in Luxembourg, but it has been followed by the 3-0 over Bulgaria at home turf. These three goals level Sweden and France on top of the group and despite all notable absences, mostly presence of a player from Zlatan’s caliber, Swedes can play with confidence based on the seven points won out of nine possible.
France already slipped once and that happened in Belarus, where “Les Bleus” failed to realize any of their scoring chances and that was crucial for the final two nulls on the score sheet. Disappointment was obvious since just few days earlier France won 3-1 in Italy, so that goalless effort has been seriously criticized by everyone in France. This required better results and maximum number of points from both October games where mission has been brilliantly accomplished by Didier Deschamps’ formation.
First of all France got back on track with a routine win against Bulgaria, although Bulgarians opened the score early in the game. That wasn’t an issue for the French team and the final 4-1 was a warm-up for the upcoming trip to Amsterdam, where French team had to defend its status of main favourite for winning the group.
Only 72 hours after winning against Bulgaria in Paris, Paul Pogba’s lovely strike was enough to assure all the points for France at the “Amsterdam ArenA” and this leaves the Netherlands in shadow of France and Sweden.
France vs Sweden – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
France enters into that game with huge enthusiasm and eager to close its official 2016 schedule with a proper result, which should place them on top of the group, at least until upcoming outings to Luxembourg and Sweden in 2017. The bitter taste from the lost Euro 2016 final remains and there is no place for underestimation here, so Didier Deschamps will use his best men against Sweden, while he has enough quality players to rotate the squad in following friendly against the Ivory Coast on Tuesday night, 15 November 2016. France’s priority has been entirely fixed over the World Cup perspectives and we expect similar XI to the one used against Bulgaria and the Netherlands one month ago.
Alphonse Areola and Layvin Kurzawa have been dropped from the squad due to injuries, so Kurzawa’s position at the left-back will be taken by someone between experienced Patrice Evra or Barcelona’s summer signing Lucas Digne.
Arsenal’s striker Olivier Giroud returns in the squad but we believe Deschamps will start with the attacking duo of Spanish Atletico Madrid – Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro. Younger players like Nabil Fekir, Ousmane Dembele and Kingsley Coman can also be options for French attack, but more likely as rotations against Sweden. However, some of them may start in the next game and all of them will be extremely motivated to take advantage of the chance, in case Deschamps uses them in any particular moment against Sweden.
Situation in Swedish team does not seem to be so bright and Janne Andersson isn’t so fortunate to pick among so deep national team pool. Especially after retirement of the aforementioned key players, Sweden looks weakened mostly when it comes to experience, but this has to be key to their inspiration here. Swedish selection can only win from that game and we highly doubt some in the Scandinavian country will blame them for losing in France… not with all the absentees. In fact current selection of Sweden includes only three names who have more than 30 international caps- captain Andreas Granqvist, as well as the two Ligue 1 players – Jimmy Durmaz and Ola Toivonen.
Other players who are relatively experienced are Oscar Wendt, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Oscar Hiljemark and John Guidetti. All others have less than 10 international appearances with Sweden’s main team.
Mikael Lustig, Martin Olsson and Marcus Berg were all withdrawn from Swedish selection due to injuries and that’s another serious hit over Janne Andersson’s plan, since they’re few of the key and most experienced names in current Swedish generation.
Bologna’s Emil Krafth and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Oscar Wendt are the most likely replacements of both injured full-backs, Lustig and Olsson, while another player from a Ligue 1 team has been called to replace Berg – Isaac Kiese Thelin, who plays in Bordeaux. Anyway, we believe that attacking duo (if they stick to the 4-4-2 formation) of Sweden will be formed by Ola Toivonen and John Guidetti.
Final conclusion and Betting Prediction
All circumstances are backing the home win and everything else looks unbelievable. That’s true, France are certain favourites and only something exceptional can stop them winning, but this doesn’t mean Sweden cannot benefit from its role of an underdog. France looks really impressive up front but their defensive line struggles and they’ve conceded at home against other teams who don’t offer something more impressive than Sweden (at least in our opinion) – 2-1 vs Romania, 2-1 vs Ireland, 5-2 vs Iceland and the 4-1 win vs Bulgaria.
We find great value in currently suggested odds for “Both teams to score – Yes“ and that’s our main recommendation for the upcoming World Cup qualifier on Friday night, 11.11.2016, matching both Group A leaders – France vs Sweden.
Venue: “Stade de France”, Saint-Denis.
Referee: Milorad Mazic from Serbia.
Possible starting lineups of France and Sweden
France: Hugo Lloris – Djibril Sidibe, Raphaël Varane, Laurent Koscielny, Lucas Digne – Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi – Moussa Sissoko, Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet – Kevin Gameiro. (4-2-3-1)
Sweden: Robin Olsen – Oscar Wendt, Andreas Granqvist, Victor Lindelöf, Emil Krafth – Emil Forsberg, Oscar Hiljemark, Albin Ekdal, Jimmy Durmaz – Ola Toivonen, John Guidetti. (4-4-2)