Written by Brian Koh
Group E is the group of the death this year’s tournament. Despite the presence of Belgium, the current top-ranked team in Europe, many experts predict that this group may end up being chaotic. Italy, though they may be at their low time compared to few years ago, is a team known for not-losing, with its catenaccio style football. Sweden, a team with an obvious superstar, always has a possibility to break people’s expectation. Ireland is expected to be the weakest team in this group. But who knows? We all observed what Costa Rica has done in the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Match 1: Ireland
Sweden’s first match-up is Ireland. I would say this is a great news for the Swedish. Let’s be honest. This match will likely to be the only match where Sweden would act as a top-dog in this group. If Sweden wins the three points from this first least tough game, it would make Sweden much easier to advance to the knockout stage. However, if they fail to do so, even a draw would make Sweden’s chance to advance extremely small.
Match 2: Italy
Italy is the best team of the second seeded teams. Whoever meets Italy in the same group will be placed in the worst group. Yes. That does seem true. Ireland’s second opponent of the group stage will be Italy. Italy finished second place in the last 2012 EURO. The team has been walking downward since then – they got kicked out in the group stage in 2014 World Cup. However, unlike some people’s not-so-bright expectations, Italy’s road to qualification was done pretty easily. They have not lost a single game in the qualifier group H.
Everything will come down to just one simple question. Will Ibravhimovic be able to score more goals than the Italian offense? Keep in mind that Italy has arguably the best defenders in the world, including the notorious Juventus defenders.
Match 3: Belgium
Now Sweden faces its toughest opponent of this group. Belgium, currently ranked number 2 in the world, possesses so many talents that would tire me out just to list them. Besides, Sweden lost twice and tied once during the recent three match-ups against Belgium. It would be extremely difficult for Sweden’s talent-lacking defense to cope with talent-overwhelming Belgium offense. But there is still hope. If Belgium wins the first two games and secure the first place in the group, they would lose incentive to give their best shot at the last game. However, if Belgium comes with the need to win, Sweden’s hope would probably disappear.
How to cite this page: “Sweden: Group Analysis and Match-Ups”, Written by Brian Koh(2016). European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/european-cup-2016-guide/underrated-teams-of-euro-2016/sweden/sweden-group-analysis-and-match-ups/ (accessed on (date)).