Considering the fact that Sweden cannot mathematically qualify for the final eight of the tournament, there is likely to be little emphasis placed on this game. Moreover, with France pretty much guaranteed of qualification already, this is another reason to switch over channels and watch the game involving England and Ukraine! However, with Sweden looking to save face and at least record some points on the board, and with France looking to avoid an encounter with reigning champions Spain in the next round, there is at least something riding on this clash between these two nations.
Having suffered a shock defeat to Ukraine in the opening game of the tournament, it was no surprise to see Sweden’s players extremely defiant as they prepared to face England. However, several defensive lapses resulted in the Swedes suffering a successive defeat – which ultimately dumps them out of the competition. It has to be said that throughout their clash with England, Sweden showed glimpses of quality yet were still lacking at the back. Bearing this in mind, some people still believe that Erik Hamren’s side could have what it takes to record a scalp over France and throw the whole of Group D into jeopardy.
However, the French have demonstrated already why they are one of the favourites for the tournament. Against England, Laurent Blanc’s side dominated possession and could have quite easily won the fixture, while their victory over the Ukraine was comfortable and has set them up well for qualification. It would in fact take an absurd turn of events for the French to miss out on qualification and their main concern now has to be to top the group. Following Spain’s victory on Monday evening, Blanc will know that his side risk facing the world champions should they fail to top Group D. Of course, should they manage to record a comfortable victory over the Swedes and maintain their superior goal difference, this is unlikely to be the case.
As for team news, Erik Hamren is poised to make changes to his starting eleven following Sweden’s recent failure to qualify. Johan Elmander is likely to be one of the unlucky parties, with the former Bolton man struggling throughout the tournament with a minor knock. France on the other hand have one concern, with Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye a doubt as he struggles with an issue picked up in the previous outing. Should he miss out, Laurent Blanc has a direct replacement in the form of Yann M’Vila.
Even though Sweden have lost both of their games prior to this, we think that Erik Hamren’s side could manage to nick a point from this fixture. As demonstrated in their game against England, the Swedes can prove a troublesome outfit and we think the French may struggle to cope with their physical style of play. Bearing this in mind, our prediction will be a 1-1 draw.