Sweden and Switzerland clash for the first time in a major tournamentby Jack Kitson / 03 July 2018, 13:52Tweet
Sweden and Switzerland meet in a major tournament for the first time in history on Tuesday afternoon when they go head-to-head at Saint Petersburg’s Krestovsky Stadium in the last-16 of the 2018 World Cup.
Both countries will be quietly pleased with how the second-half of the draw has unfolded, although they remain the rank outsiders in the betting to taste golden cup glory for the first time, with Switzerland priced at 33/1 and Sweden 40/1.
It’s Switzerland who have been installed as the narrow 17/10 bookmakers favourites to win the last-16 clash in 90 minutes, with Sweden available at 2/1, while a draw can be found at the same price.
Switzerland are unbeaten in Russia following draws against Brazil and Costa Rica and a dramatic win over Serbia meaning the world’s 6th ranked side have only been defeated in one of their last 25 games (W17, D7).
"We are used to making history, we have big ambitions and the next big ambition is to beat Sweden,” said boss Vladimir Petkovic who will now look to end 64 years of hurt by matching Switzerland’s record showing by progressing through to the quarter-finals.
Sweden were the surprise winners of a very tough Group F which contained Mexico, South Korea and defending champions Germany, who surprisingly came rock-bottom. The Swedes, led by Janne Andersson, head into their 50th ever match at the World Cup in high spirits following a 3-0 thrashing of Mexico.
Sweden have reached the knockout stage in each of their last four World Cup appearances (in 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2018), athough they’ve only reached the quarter-finals once since 1958.
Boss Andersson, who was involved in a touchline spat at the end of the Germany game, has said a plan is in place should the game venture into penalties:
“It’s my job to decide on the players who need to perform, in the case of a penalty shootout situation.
“We’ve talked about it in the squad of course and I’m going to rank the players, the entire squad in terms of penalties and then we’ll have to see who’s on the pitch at that point.
“If we’ve played 120 minutes we have a clear plan in place of what we’re going to do, but I’m not going to enter into any more details.”
The countries may have never met at a major tournament but the head to head record is pretty even, with Switzerland winning 11 of the 29 clashes to Sweden’s 10, while there’s been eight draws, and we like the look of another draw and under 2.5 goals at 9/4, with a goalless draw priced at 11/2 with Paddy Power.
Prediction: Sweden 0-0 Switzerland (Switzerland to win on penalties)