Sweden’s cruel loss against Germany, conceding the winner in the last seconds of the game, certainly makes things tougher for the Swedes, although they have it all in their own hands.
Toni Kroos‘ 95th-minute strike is certainly hard to overcome, luckily for Sweden, however, there is a way to work around it.
From the game, they will definitely be able to bring more than a few positive aspects, nearly holding on to a draw against the World Champions.
In fact, at times during the first half when they were 1-0 up, it looked like they could go on to score a second, continuing to create chances on the counter-attacks. However, as well all know, an early goal in the second half for Germany made things tougher for Sweden, although they stood up well after and arguably deserved a draw.
For many, Sweden’s performance came as a surprise, however, for those living in the country (or in Italy), this is yet another example of manager Janne Andersson’s tactics. During the World Cup qualifiers, Sweden did exceptionally well against the big sides, deserving a win against France away from home, eventually losing 2-1, while beating the French side at home by the same scoreline.
Not to mention, in the playoffs against Italy, Sweden really managed their resources well by sitting back most of the time, as the Italians had failed to prove their attacking spirit when playing as the favourites. Against Mexico, we can expect to see something similar.
In their encounter with Germany, Mexico certainly displayed their man strength; counter-attacks. The speed of the trio up front really put the Germans in danger, eventually leading to the winner scored by Lozano. South Korea, on the other hand, did their homework properly, letting the Mexicans dominate the game and thus eliminating their counter-attacks. In the end, they lost, but Mexico looked very flat throughout the game.
For Sweden, this will be the key to get a win on Wednesday. Janne Andersson’s team thrives once it’s allowed to sit back and hit on the counter-attacks. Therefore, the perfect game plan would be to give Mexico a taste of their own medicine. Now, as mentioned, this is nothing new for Sweden, in fact, it has probably been their most efficient way of playing.
The Swedes had only 29% of possession against Germany and still managed to rack up more than a few dangerous chances. Against Mexico, they will be looking to do more of the same in order to advance. So, what are the scenarios for Sweden? How can they advance to the round of 16?
Well, since Germany and Sweden are on three points, while Mexico are on six, this group has certainly turned out to be one of the tightest in the World Cup. In fact, even South Korea still have a chance to qualify. Down below are all of the scenarios for Sweden.
To make things clear, as long as Sweden win against Mexico, they’re through to the round of 16. Should Germany draw or lose against South Korea, while Sweden win, then the Swedes will finish first in the group as they probably will have a better goal difference than Mexico.
Of course, Germany will most likely beat South Korea, although at least a draw shouldn’t be excluded given their recent form. Then, if Sweden win as well, the team with the biggest victory in the last game will grab the first spot, as the two sides (Sweden and Germany) have scored and conceded the same amount of goals so far. Furthermore, to make things clear once again, Mexico can’t finish above Sweden if Janne Andersson’s side beats the Mexicans.
Should Sweden only draw against Mexico, then they would have to rely on South Korea getting at least one point in the other game. If so, then the team that scores the most goals will go through. For example, if Sweden were to draw 2-2, while Germany get a 1-1 draw, then Sweden would go through.
So, in short, there are many different scenarios and possible outcomes, but the plan remains the same for the Swedish national team; three points is all that matters.
“We have everything to win tomorrow. Mentally, we are very, very strong,” Janne Andersson said during his press conference.
Tactically, it will be a very interesting game to watch, as Mexico have the negative ability to play the game of their lives, just to crash out miserably in the next one. Usually, there’s no in between, although tomorrow’s encounter could provide us with more information.
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