With the World Cup around the corner it presents an interesting time to have a warm up friendly between two neighbouring countries as Sweden face off against Denmark this weekend. With their top stars likely to not be playing at full tempo as they look to avoid any injuries ahead of this summers tournament, and with the managers of both nations likely to experiment with players and tactics, we think that backing there to be less than 2.5 goals scored is the best way to go in this fixture.
After being drawn in a difficult qualifying group, the Swedes held off a late surge from Holland to finish second behind France and advance into the play-offs. Again the odds were against them but they managed to edge out Italy in a 1-0 aggregate win to book their place at Russia this summer.
Their reward is a first finals tournament since 2006 and after being drawn in a group alongside Germany, Mexico and South Korea, they will fancy their chances of being able to make it into the knockout stages. Before they can make their travel plans, however, they need to get some form under their belt.
The Swedes are known for being a well-drilled unit which was unbeaten at home in five qualifiers, including a 2-1 defeat of France, but they do have a bit to prove following friendly losses to Chile and Romania in March.
The Danes have also had a pretty poor time since they qualified for the World Cup and although they managed a 1-0 win over Panama in a friendly in March and a 0-0 draw with Chile a few days later, their lack of goals in that period will be a concern which will need to be address if they are to have a successful tournament.
After finishing as runners-up in their qualifying group behind Poland , Denmark blitzed the Republic of Ireland 5-1 in the second leg of a play-off. Age Hareide’s side have been rewarded with a group of France, Peru and Australia at the World Cup and are rated second favourites to progress from that pool.
The Danes have gone 13 games without defeat, including 0-0 friendly draws with Germany and Chile. Like their hosts, they are a tough defensive unit and with the star quality of Christian Erikssen, they have the capabilities to do well in the tournament.
However, given that neither side will be fully up to speed following a break at the end of the club season, we cannot see there being anything to chose between the sides. For those of you looking for something a little braver than the goals market, we think backing a stalemate looks to represent some good value.
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Sweden have the better of the head to head between these two sides with a record of 47 wins, 19 draws and 40 defeats. The sides last met in a 1-0 Sweden win back in a friendly back in January.