Sweden did great to beat Turkey in their last match thanks to a penalty kick. They will now have a chance to top the group with a win in their last match, where they will host Russia on Tuesday. Russia are still undefeated in this group and will have to lose by two goals in order to drop from the top spot. Sweden know that they will have to attack at some point, so Russia will be looking to stagger this match.
Date/Time: 11-20-2018, 15:45 EDT
Spread: Sweden -0.5
Total: 2.25 Goals
Sweden (1-1-1) are coming into this match after a somewhat lucky, but strong, showing on the road against Turkey. They were not very good in the first half where they failed to record a single shot on the opposing target. Turkey were much better in that first half but the two teams entered the break tied in a goal-less draw. Sweden managed to turn the match around in the second half, where they had the majority of the scoring chances. Luckily for them their opponents fouled them inside the area at the 71st minute. Central defender Granqvist didn’t fail to convert the penalty kick to a goal, which was the only one of the match. That win gave a massive boost to Sweden, who are now sitting 2nd in the group with 4 points. Russia are top with 7, so Sweden need a win by at least two goals in order to seize the top spot.
On the other hand, Russia (2-0-1) met a really tough loss in their friendly match in Germany on Thursday. They actually used a ton of reserves in that match as they wanted to have their best players fresh for their last match of the group stage. Russia were simply terrible in that match, failing to record a single shot on target out of 8 scoring chances. Germany took an early lead at the 8th minute and doubled that at the 25th, only to score another goal at the 40th. Having taken a three-goal lead in the first half, Germany went on to protect their lead. In their previous match, Russia did great to beat Turkey by a solid 0-2 at home and are now leading their group. They have 7 points, while Sweden have 4, but with a +3 goal difference, against +0 for Sweden. Even a loss by one goal would be enough for Russia to remain at the top.
The two teams played for a goal-less draw when they met in Russia in the first round of this competition. Prior to that they met in the 2016 EURO Cup Qualifiers, where after a 1-1 draw in this venue, Russia won by 0-1 at home. Russia have the upper hand in this match-up (2-1-2 in competitive matches), with four of the five matches featuring Under 2.5 Goals.
Now Russia know that even a loss by one goal would still not move them from the top spot. Sweden not only want a win, but by at least two goals. Russia will surely try to destroy the rhythm in this match, so we just might see another low-scoring affair here. But I have trust in Sweden, and they should be able to win this match.
UEFA Nations League Sweden vs Russia Prediction: Sweden -0.5 (-108)
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