Monday, August 28, 2017

Sweden face Crucial Matchday 7 this Week

Twelve years ago, Sweden marched into Sofia Bulgaria for a crucial World Cup Qualifying game, the end result, a easy 3-0 win for Sweden as they cruised past their Qualifying rivals on route to qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

That group featured other teams such as Croatia, Hungary, Iceland and Malta. It finished as follows:


Over the last decade, the weaker teams have closed the gap over the stronger teams and these results would be a hard time duplicating if this group was formed now. In fact, the way the current format is at now, this is almost a must win for Bulgaria.

In contrast, Sweden has looked stronger as the group stage has gone on and after beating France back in June, sit in the drivers seat in Group A of the 2018 Qualifiers.

 Sweden can see the end in sight but their margin for error is still razor thin. A slip up in Sofia combined with a Dutch upset win in the French capital as well and Sweden would go from being in the drivers seat to in Jeopardy of not even qualifying for Russia 2018.

The game in Sofia is crucial. However, what happens in Pairs is also very important. A win in Bulgaria would be great, but a draw with the right result in France would be put Sweden in a good spot to qualify for through the back door. Therefore, Sweden needs a balance, they don't have to go for goals and be thin at the back but they can't sit back and hope for a 0-0 draw. It has to be somewhere in between.

At this point, winning would give Sweden their best World Cup Qualifying campaign ever which would be a huge accomplishment given the boatload of question marks this team was asked at this time last year.

We can't get too far ahead of ourselves. Business has to be taken care of Thursday in Bulgaria. This could might as well be the turning point in Group A that has proven to be one of the most competitive groups in Qualifying.

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