Sweden vs. Switzerland – 7/3/18 World Cup Soccer Pick, Odds, and Prediction
We have some World Cup knockout round action on Tuesday as Sweden takes on Switzerland from the Saint-Petersburg Stadium in the round of 16.
Sweden comes into this fixture as the winners of Group F, aka the group that saw defending champion Germany not only get knocked out but finish last in the group. Sweden finished tops in the group with 6 of a possible 9 points thanks to a 3-0 win over Mexico in their final group stage matchup on Wednesday. The match ended up as a scoreless stalemate for the first 50 minutes of the match before Ludwig Augustinsson gave Sweden the lead. Andreas Granqvist doubled Sweden’s advantage from the penalty spot just after the hour mark before getting an insurance marker thanks to a Mexican own goal to seal the deal. Sweden were all about quality and not quantity as they were out possessed by Mexico 65%-35% and outshot 19-13 but did have a 5-3 advantage over El Triple in regards to shots on goal.
Switzerland booked their spot in this matchup by finishing 2nd in Group E, making it through all three matches unbeaten with a win and two draws following a 2-2 tie with cellar dwellers Costa Rica in the group’s final matchday on Wednesday. Bierim Dzemaili gave the Swiss the lead 31 minutes in and it stayed that way until half time before Costa Rica equalized in the 56th minute. Josip Drmic gave Switzerland the lead again in the 88th minute but it was not meant to be as Costa Rica equalized on a poor bounce from the penalty spot as Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz missed a penalty that ricocheted back off of the bar and hit Swiss keeper Yann Sommer and ended up in the back of the net for the stalemate at full time. Switzerland out possessed Costa Rica 60%-40%, but were outshot 14-12 and 6-3 in terms of shots on target.
Switzerland and Sweden have not met on the international stage since 2002.
Of all of the knockout stage matches, I think this match is up there as one that we could see going to extra time and possibly even penalties and for that reason I’m going to back a draw after 90 minutes. Braver punters may want to try chasing the full time scoreline of 0-0 as well as I see this one being a defensive battle from start to finish.