By: Jason Green
Date: Saturday June 23rd
Time: 7:00 PM
Match Odds: Germany -240 / Sweden +700 / Draw +380
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
There have been some surprises in this World Cup, but none bigger than defending champion Germany losing to Mexico 1-0 in their opening match. They are likely in a must-win situation in this match facing Sweden, who beat North Korea 1-0 in their opener and are tied atop Group F with Mexico.
Germany was not ready for the quick counter-attack and pace that Mexico brought to the table and the Game could have been much worse with Mexico missing out on some key chances to add to their lead. While the Germans won the time of possession battle (67% to 33%) in the Mexico match and had around 30 shots on goal, but still took the loss.
Sweden won their opener scoring their goal on a penalty. They had gone scoreless in their previous three matches and their finishing was very poor in the win over South Korea.
There will be a lot of pressure on Sweden’s defense and goalie Robin Olsen, as they know that Germany will be attacking from the opening whistle. They have to take a page from Mexico and look for the counter attack. Don’t look for the Swedes to push forward much, as it is likely they will pack the defensive line to thwart the German attack and they would be more than happy with a draw in this match.
Lead German striker Thomas Müller has set the attack for the Germans and he got a yellow card in the Mexico match. Toni Kroos and Mesut Özil are the leaders in the midfield and look for them to press the attack in this match. However, they must defend the counter attack better than they did in their shocking loss to Mexico.
The Germans have lost six of their last seven matches overall. The one win in that span was a less than impressive 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in their last World Cup tune-up.
Ola Toivonen and Marcus Berg are the two strikers in the Swedish formation and they have to take advantage of scoring chances, which may be few and far between facing a solid German defense.
Germany has never lost to Sweden with seven wins and Four draws. The last two encounters came in 2014 World Cup qualifiers where Sweden came back from 4-0 to secure a 4-4 draw and then lost the 2nd leg 5-3 in a barnburner.
In the last 16 World Cups Germany has advanced to the knockout stage every time and that streak is in jeopardy if they do not secure three points from a win in this match.
Last Three Matches
6/2/18 Austria 2 Germany 1 (Friendly)
6/8/18 Germany 2 Saudi Arabia 1 (Friendly)
6/17/18 Germany 0 Mexico 1 (World Cup)
6/2/18 Sweden 0 Denmark 0 (Friendly)
6/9/18 Sweden 0 Peru 0 (Friendly)
6/18/18 Sweden 1 South Korea 0 (World Cup)
Prediction: Can Sweden pull off the big upset and beat Germany? No way. Their lone goal came on a penalty in their opener and they have not found the back of the net in real play for 430 minutes. The Germans got the wake-up call they may have needed and they will come out firing in this match. They are much better all-around the pitch and they will show that beating Sweden 2-0 and getting the valuable three points.