Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Due or Die For Sweden This Week

It's came down to this for Sweden, with slim home of beating out France for the automatic spot for Russia 2018, Sweden is on a collision course for a date with Netherlands next Tuesday.

That's if the Netherlands beat Belarus on Saturday at the home of FC BATE Borisov. We know this isn't the same Dutch team that competed in the 2010 Final and 2014 Semi Final but I can't imagine the Dutch not being a favourite to beat Sweden despite Sweden's impressive qualifying campaign.

However, the first tie breaker is goal differential which Sweden have an advantage for and a on paper easier game come Saturday.

Unfortunately, 2nd place doesn't guarantee a spot in the back door playoffs. If Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Wales and the winner of the Denmark - Montenegro  all win their games this weekend, Group A runner up will be the one left out.

Sweden fans should be understandably nervous as the last few times they have had success was due to weak groups in qualifying. Getting to the top of the pecking order is amazingly tough after a team slides into the Top 20.

In fact, in the last 11 years, Sweden is 5W-10T-16L against Top level teams. Yes, there have been some good results, but 16 losses is a lot. Some of those games were on neutral field or home which Sweden won't have that on their side next Tuesday.

The other hope is that Sweden get scoreboard help over the weekend and the game in Amsterdam means less. I wouldn't bet on that happening. That doesn't seem likely as Belarus looked hopeless inboxed Sweden's 4-0 win last time out.

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