There were some serious concerns about Sweden’s chances going forward when Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from the international scene two years ago, but they have overcome this hurdle well and qualified for this summer’s World Cup.
They managed to outperform Netherlands in qualifying before shockingly beating Italy in the playoffs, and with a more team based approach they will be hoping to make it out of their group in Russia this month.
Ibrahimovic isn’t an easy player to replace, but both Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen have stepped up to the plate and increased their goalscoring tally. However, it’s been Sweden’s defence that has taken the plaudits. They have conceded just six goals in their last ten outings, keeping a clean sheet in six of these games.
This includes a clean sheet last weekend when they faced Denmark in the first of their two warm-up friendlies. That goalless draw was rather uninspiring, but it does bode well for their chances against Mexico and South Korea in the group stages.
Peru have waited over three decades to return to the World Cup stage, and they’ve been handed a massive boost ahead of kickoff as well. Pablo Guerrero has been their captain and talisman for years, but the veteran striker looked set to miss out on his dream due to a controversial doping ban. That decision has been overturned though, and Guerrero marked his comeback with a brace against Saudi Arabia last weekend.
Peru won that match 3-0, and that stretches their unbeaten streak to 14 matches overall. This includes avoiding defeat against Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Croatia, so while they may be underdogs this summer they are certainly a team to watch out for.
Just like their opponents, Peru are defensively sound. They have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six matches, and for this reason we’re expecting at least one set of defenders to hold firm on Saturday. Both teams have scored in just two of Sweden’s last ten games and in two of Peru’s last eight. This makes Both Teams Not to Score look the best value bet on offer, along with a goalless draw for our correct score predictions.
Sweden Predicted Lineup: Olsen, Krafth, Granqvist, Lindelof, Olsson, Larsson, Hiljemark, Ekdal, Forsberg, Toivonen, Berg
Peru Predicted Lineup: Gallese, Advincula, Ramos, Rodriguez, Trauco, Yotun, Tapia, Flores, Carrillo, Cueva, Guerrero
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This will be the first meeting between these nations.
Midfielder Seb Larsson will hope to win his 100th cap on Saturday, whilst Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen are likely to form a partnership up front again. Emil Forsberg is expected to play out on the left again, with Andreas Granqvist captaining the team from the back, alongside Victor Lindelof.
Captain Pablo Guerrero is expected to start up front again after having his doping ban overturned, whilst the likes of Yoshimar Yotun, Renato Tapia, and Edison Flores will be key players in midfield.