Russia vs Sweden PreviewJake Cooper | 12 Oct 2016
Russia take on Sweden in Stockholm tonight in a Group G clash that will have big implications for both sides.
Fabio Capello’s Russian side will be looking to feed off their recent 4-0 humbling of Liechtenstein, while the Swedes are coming into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw with Austria.
Further complicating the challenge for Sweden is the potential loss of record goal scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, following the Paris Saint-Germain striker’s absence from his club’s last 4 games.
With a fantastic strike rate of 50 goals in his 100 international appearances for Sweden, Ibrahimovic’s absence would be a hammer blow to Sweden’s chances.
Team doctor Leif Sward was at a loss to explain the cause of Ibrahimovic’s heel injury but said ahead of the game, “We do not want to artificially accelerate the recovery, because the Achilles tendon could be damaged. Zlatan is getting better and better, but even with minimal inflammation, he will not play.”
Should he not make it onto the field, Swedish coach Erik Hamren is likely to call on the services of Johan Elmander, formerly a player for Bolton.
Hamren said, “The Russians are very well organized, tight in defence and disciplined. But we will do everything to win. This is our task.”
“But we have a lot to offer against opponents without Ibrahimovic. We are willing to take collective responsibility.”
Since the end of the Soviet Union, the two sides have clashed 4 times, with Sweden leading the head to head with a record that reads: W2 D1 L1.
Russia won the most recent game between the two sides, a 2-0 at the UEFA Euro 2008 competition.
Russia vs Sweden Betting
This is one of the clashes of the week in the European Championship Qualifiers and interest will be high in what promises to be a closely fought game.
You can back Sweden to win 1-0 at tempting odds of 6/1 with Paddy Power, which goes up to 11/1 should they run out 2-0 winners.
Also representing great value in the anytime goal scorer market is O Toivonen the attacking midfielder who plies his trade for Stade Rennes. He is 11/4 with Paddy Power to find the back of the net on Thursday night.