Sweden travel to Russia this summer as potential dark horses. The Scandinavian’s had a relatively strong qualifying campaign which resulted in them finishing as runners-up in Group A behind Didier Deschamps’ extremely strong France side. With six wins, one draw and three defeats from ten games in the group stages, Janne Andersson’s men will take some good momentum into this summer’s World Cup. They were extremely lucky to qualify for this years tournament however, after losing 2-0 to the Netherlands on the final fixture of qualification back in October. An emphatic 8-0 thrashing of Luxembourg just three days prior to that defeat to the Dutchmen meant that they secured their plane to Russia on goal difference alone; Holland instead bowing out in agonising fashion.
Understandably, the odds of Sweden lifting the World Cup this July are extremely high. They’re currently a whopping 125/1 to win the whole tournament with some bookmakers, so it’s clear that most people aren’t expecting Sweden to progress that far this time out. Although there are clearly weaker teams competing in Russia this summer (the likes of Panama and Saudi Arabia both priced at odds of 2000/1 to lift the trophy), Sweden are far from favourable. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic now retired, they lack a talisman. Ibrahimovic’s goals have been the main reason Sweden have ever done anything at major international tournaments over the years, so without him they’re going to be a much weaker outfit. They do however have 31-year-old Marcus Berg to rely on, the Al Ain front man bagged eight goals for the Yellows in qualification so will be pivotal for their chances of progression in Russia.