In the last game they played before this one, Norway got completely outplayed away to Croatia losing the match with a 5:1 result. The team wasn’t nowhere close to their best possible performance and will surely want to improve the image of themselves before they go into the next competitive games soon.
It simply wasn’t their day back then, as they actually had some chances, including a missed penalty via Elyounoussi, while it didn’t help them much that the Croats were playing with a man less since 75th minute when Corluka got excluded. All they could do was to reduce the deficit temporarily to 3:1 in 80th minute via Tettey, but even so, the visitors conceded two more in last five minutes. They are now at third position with four points more than Bulgaria, but two less than second placed Italy and most likely the Norwegians will have to play in additional play-off rounds. Defender Reginiussen and striker Elyounoussi Moller Daehli are both injured for this one.
Sweden, on the other side, had an easier friendly game at home against Iran back in March, winning it with a 3:1 result. From the first minute it was obvious that the European side is much stronger, keeping the things under control from the first moment as they took the double lead after twenty minutes via goals from Ibrahimovic and Berg.
Nekounam temporarily reduced in 24th, but without threatening Swedish goalkeeper with an equalizer, the game got it’s tempo a bit lowered, while the Swedish side managed to secure the victory in 89th minute via Toivonen. As for the standings in their group, they are second with nine points gathered in five matches (two victories, three draws), having only a point more than third placed Russia – which means that no setback can be afforded at this time. Coach Hamren decided to rest his player Ibrahimovic for this game, what would give the opportunity to couple of players from their domestic league.
Even though they won’t be playing with Ibrahimovic up front, Swedes remain favorite here. However, their victory is questionable now, but with Norwegians being in a situation where they have to respond with a bit more positive performance, my first choice for this match will be both teams to score with very likely over 2.5 goals.
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