Euro Betting: Sweden vs Poland, 23 June
Final Group Games | Group E | St Petersburg
Their Euros So Far
The fact that this match pits ‘top’ versus ‘bottom’ of Group E tells a lot of how each team has fared on their Euro outing so far. Sweden earned a hard-fought draw against three-time Euro winners Spain for their opening game, followed by a narrow win against second placed Slovakia for the next, with forward Alexander Isak starring in both matches.
Although this puts them top of their section as they approach the last game, the fine margins of the preceding games – not losing to Spain despite having just 15% possession, a single penalty beating Slovakia – does still suggest that bottom placed Poland and Robert Lewandowski in particular, could cause problems for the Swedes.
Poland seem to have been slow to the boil so far this tournament; losing to neighbours Slovakia in game 1, a so-so performance in their draw to Spain for the second, yet there is still a feeling that Poland are ready to pounce and fight for the knockout stages in their final group game. In the last match, it seemed the Poles were heading for successive defeats until current European Golden Shoe Winner, Robert Lewandowski headed them back level. They rode their luck further when Spain missed a penalty, but still held on valiantly for a draw, meaning this game might not be as clear cut as their two positions suggest.
The Scandinavians will progress to the knockout stages if they avoid defeat to Poland, but with Slovakia only a point behind going into the final Group E games, they will need the victory to be completely certain of top spot.
If Sweden lose and Slovakia and Spain draw in the other game, then Sweden, Slovakia and Poland will be split for the 1st – 3rd place positions, with final positions being decided on the results between each other.
If Sweden lose, they will finish third and remain in the mix to progress as one of the best third placed teams across the groups.
Victory is the only option for Poland. A victory and the other game not ending in a draw, Poland could take a leap up the group table and qualify in second place.
Yet, similar to the above, if Poland, Slovakia and Poland all finish on 4 points – ahead of Spain on 3, they be split on goal difference from the matches between one another. The top two would then progress, with the other being in the running as one of the best third placed teams across the groups.
A lot of ‘what ifs?’ that makes Group E a ‘must watch.’
A quite substantial 27 games have been played out between the two nations, with Sweden winning 14, including the last five. The most recent was a 3-1 friendly home win in 2004. The Swedes also beat Poland home and away in qualifying for Euro 2002 and 2004. They also kept clean sheets for each of the four games. You have to go back to May 1997 for the last time Poland avoided a competitive defeat against their Group E rivals, and back to the 1974 World Cup for the last time they enjoyed competitive victory.
The last Polish victory in any capacity against Sweden was a 3-1 win in 2004.
So, will Sweden march on and top the group? Or will Poland find their feet just in time to progress?