Sweden vs Belgium – Group E – 8pm (ITV) – 22.06.16 – Allianz Riviera, Nice
Belgium and Sweden are perfectly poised for an interesting encounter.
The winner of the match qualifies for the Round of 16 with current group leaders Italy and, based on the tournaments these two sides have had, I’m not sure anyone can predict the scoreline.
Sweden have failed to hit the target in over 180 minutes of football at this tournament but, with a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line, a goal can come at any moment.
The only reason they aren’t already eliminated is due to Ciaran Clark’s own goal that handed Blågult a late, vital equaliser in their game against Republic of Ireland.
With nothing to lose, Sweden should hopefully change to a much more attacking playing style and put a nervy Belgian side to the sword – Ibrahimovic usually only needs one chance, he just hasn’t been gifted it yet.
Belgium’s Red Devils have had what has started to become a rather typical tournament for them.
After their poor performance in a 2-0 loss against Italy on matchday one, De Rode Duivels turned it around completely, battering a stunned Republic of Ireland side 3-0.
This Jekyll and Hyde type of campaign has become a recurring theme in recent years for Marc Wilmots’ team – when it works it’s beautiful, but when it doesn’t it’s a disaster.
Nobody can ever be truly sure of exactly which Belgium side will turn up, but they simply must dominate Sweden like they did to Ireland as I’m not sure they have it in them to turn a game around from a losing position.
Recommendation: Both teams to score at 2.10
100% deposit match for new members
Romelu Lukaku to score first and Belgium to win at 6.50
Ibrahimovic to score and Sweden to win at 8.00
Italy to Win & Keep A Clean Sheet at 3.75
- Sweden and Belgium have met 14 times previously, Sweden winning five and Belgium winning seven (D2).
- These sides have met just once in a major tournament, in the opening game of Euro 2000; Belgium, the hosts, won 2-1.
- Prior to that run, there had been an average of 5.1 goals per game between the two nations with 41 goals in eight matches.
- Sweden have lost five of their last seven games at the European Championships (W1 D1). They’ve also kept only one clean sheet in that run.
- Since the group stages were introduced in 1980, Sweden are the first team who have failed to hit a shot on target in their first two games of a European Championship.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored six goals in his last six games for Belgium.
- Kevin De Bruyne has had a hand in 10 goals in his last 10 appearances for Belgium (five goals, five assists).
- Belgium have not drawn any of their last nine European Championship games, winning three and losing six since their last stalemate – a 0-0 draw against Italy in 1980.
- After winning their last game against Ireland, the Red Devils have the opportunity to win back to back games at the European Championships for the first time.