Sweden vs Spain predictions and match preview for Thursday’s 2022 World Cup qualifier. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as both sides target a trip to Qatar.
|Thursday 2nd September 2021
|20:45 (local time)
|Friends Arena, Stockholm
|World Cup 2022 Qualifier
Sweden vs Spain Preview
After all the drama of Euro 2020, it’s back to World Cup Qualifying action for Spain this week and they can’t afford any summer hangovers with three key games coming up in their bid to reach Qatar. First up, it’s the decisive clash with Sweden, their main rivals for the top spot in Group B.
In the end it was a much better than expected summer for La Roja. They struggled to get out of the blocks with draws in their opening two games at Euro 2020, despite home advantage in Seville. One of those was against Thursday’s opponents Sweden but by their third group game against Slovakia, Luis Enrique’s side finally managed to turn the usual dominance in terms of possession into goals. Indeed Spain would score 5 in two matches running, winning a Last 16 thriller against Croatia before both their Quarter-Final and Semi-Final went to penalties with eventual champions Italy emerging victorious in the last four.
There has also been an Olympic Final since then for Spanish players but the likes of Pedri and Pau Torres have been left out of this squad to finally rest up having featured in both summer tournaments. There are a few surprise inclusions and new faces, as there tends to be whenever Luis Enrique picks a Spain squad. Among the new names this time are uncapped Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler while 21 year old Braga forward Abel Ruiz is a surprise pick.
Sweden are always tough to play against as Spain found out in the summer and there is real pressure on the visitors to get a result here. The Scandinavian side have won both of their opening group games, while Spain did surprisingly drop points at home to Greece before Dani Olmo’s 92nd minute winner spared their blushes in Georgia. La Roja comfortably dispatched Lithuania after that to top the group but they have played a game more than the Swedes and it’s the two meetings between the nations that look as though they will be decisive in determining who goes directly to the World Cup in 2022.
Sweden’s Euro 2020 run ended at the hands of Ukraine in Glasgow at the Last 16 stage. They are in something of a transitional phase with youngsters such as Alexander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski emerging and likely to be the focal point of this team over the coming decade. However some big voids have been left with seven members of their Euro 2020 squad having since retired from international football including the likes of Sebastian Larsson, Marcus Berg, Mikael Lustig and Andreas Granqvist.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 1 Sweden Win, 3 Spain Wins, 2 Draws.
- The last two meetings have been drawn including a 0-0 draw at Euro 2020.
- The sides also met in Euro 2020 qualifying, playing out a 1-1 draw in Sweden while Spain won 3-0 at home.
- Those were the first clashes since a 2-1 Spain win at Euro 2008.
Sweden are missing a large chunk of their Euro 2020 squad after several players retired from international football. Marcus Danielson is suspended for this game too.
David De Gea is hoping to regain the number one jersey for Spain who have left out the likes of Pedri, Pau Torres and Mikel Oyarzabal who featured at both Euro 2020 and the Olympics. Gerard Moreno is an injury doubt.
Predicted Sweden Starting Lineup:
Olsen – Augustinsson, Helander, Lindelof, Krafth – Forsberg, Olsson, Ekdal, Kulusevski – Isak, Thelin (4-4-2)
Predicted Spain Starting Lineup:
Simon – Alba, Laporte, Garcia, Azpilicueta – Koke, Busquets, Llorente – Sarabia, Morata, Torres (4-3-3)
Sweden vs Spain Predictions
Score Prediction: Sweden 1-1 Spain
This is a tricky game for Spain to have as their first after a busy summer and it’s a very important one. The game may follow a similar pattern to the Euros meeting between the sides but with home advantage Sweden will be more threatening you’d imagine and despite those retirees, they have enough in their ranks to ask questions of a Spanish defence which didn’t always convince during the summer. A draw looks the most likely outcome here.