Sweden vs Belgium Pre-World Cup friendly match will take place at Friends Arena in Solna on Sunday June 1, (10:30 AM PST, 18:30 BST).
Sweden are undoubtedly the most high profile absentee at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Having been drawn a tough play-off clash against Portugal, the Swedes succumbed to the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite failing to qualify for the World Cup though, Sweden have certainly made a lot of progress under manager Erik Hamren and will now have their sights set on qualification for the European Championships.
Therefore, while the current set of friendlies might look meaningless, thet are in fact very important for the Swedes and following their disappointing loss to rivals Denmark last time out, Hamren’s men will surely be looking to make amends against a supremely talented Belgium side.
With such a ridiculously talented group of players, Belgium are considered dark horses to go on and lift the World Cup. In terms of quality of the young players in their squad, Belgium can probably match the likes of Spain and Germany and the current crop of Belgian stars have been hailed as the Golden Generation of the nation’s football.
That being said, manager Marc Wilmots has done a wonderful job as well in drilling the Belgian side into a strong cohesive unit and the Red Devils certainly have a great chance of making a huge impact at the World Cup.
Belgium managed a fine 5-1 victory over minnows Luxembourg in their last friendly but Sweden will be a much more difficult test and if Wilmots’ side are to be taken seriously at the World Cup, they will hope to claim a victory over their opponents on Sunday.
Sweden suffered a disappointing late loss against Denmark during their last friendly match and Hamren could make a couple of changes to his side.
Andreas Isaksson could replace Krostoffer Nordfeldt in goal while a defence consisting of Mikael Lustig, Mikael Antonsson, Pierre Bengtsson and Andreas Granqvist look the most likely to start.
Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstorm and Pontus Wernbloom will probably start in midfield but the likes of Oscar Hiljemark, Mattias Johansson and Erkan Zengin will also be in contention.
The deadly attacking trio of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Johan Elmander and Marcus Berg were disappointing against Denmark and Hamren could decide to bring-in anyone among Ola Toivonen, Tobias Hysen and Jimmy Durmaz into the starting lineup.
Despite claiming a fine 5-1 victory over Luxembourg, manager Marc Wilmots was not too happy with his side’s performance and could change things around.
Thibault Courtois should start in goal but Simon Mignolet is also in contention, while the defence consisting of Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen, Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen look set to retain their place in the starting lineup but the likes of Daniel van Buyten, Nicolas Lombaerts and Anthony Vanden Borre are also options.
Belgium have an embarrassment of riches in midfield. Axel Witsel, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Kevin Mirallas started against Luxembourg but if Wilmots wants to change things around, in Dries Mertens, Steven Defour, Mousa Dembele, Adnan Januzaj and Nacer Chadli, the Belgian manager is certainly spoilt for choice.
Romelu Lukaku scored a marvellous hat-trick last time out and will surely be leading the line for the Red Devils while young Divock Origi provides an useful alternative.
Sweden (Probable XI): Isaksson; Lusitg, Antonsson, Bengtsson, Granqvist; Larsson, Kallstorm, Wernbloom; Ibrahimovic, Elmander, Toivonen
Belgium (Probable XI): Courtois; Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Kompany, Vertonghen; Hazard, Witsel, Fellaini, Defour, Mirallas; Lukaku
Sweden: LW W L L
Belgium: D L L D W
Sweden vs Belgium Prediction
Although the strength of the Belgium side has been widely lauded, they are not in the best of forms. Prior to their victory over Luxembourg, the Belgians had not won in four matches and it proves that possessing a strong group of players does not necessarily translate into success.
Sweden are a solid side and will put up a strong fight in front of their home fans and Belgium will certainly have to play well in order to claim victory. Belgium look the better side and should grab the win but it will be a closely fought clash.
Sweden 1 – 2 Belgium
Sweden vs Belgium Television
The Sweden vs Belgium match will not be televised in the USA, outside USA it will be on SuperSport 4 at 10:30 AM Pacific on Sunday.