Poland hosts Sweden in the World Cup playoffs in a meeting that will decide which team heads for Qatar, and which one stays at home. The poles have a home-court advantage, which might be a big deal in this case. Even though many see them as favorites, the difference between them and the Swedes isn’t that big, according to the bookmakers. Blagult showed its resilience and fighting mentality, defeating the Czech Republic on Thursday, playing 120 minutes of rough football.
Poland (+135) reached this stage directly, due to Russia’s suspension from all UEFA and FIFA competitions. Some say that it gave Czesław Michniewicz’s boys extra time to prepare for the next rivals and that they kept enough energy, but on the other side, such a change in the schedule might have interrupted their chemistry.
The Poles played a friendly international against Scotland, which ended 1-1, but to be honest, we haven’t seen anything notable in that one. Fiorentina’s attacker, Krzystof Piatek, netted in the 94th minute to level the score and save his team from a defeat.
Poland won two of the past four games on home soil, and their record in the previous nine games overall is five wins, with two losses and draws. Their team is experienced but a bit old, with most of the starters and regular call-ups around and over 30 years old.
Sweden (+250) had a really tough test against the Czechs, who broke after 110 minutes of play. Robin Quiason sent his team to Poland, with a goal that made a difference, which could be one of the most important for this unit in the entire qualifiers.
Blagult is one hard-working team, without too much talent or creativity, but with extremely strong physique and athletic abilities. All of their players are very fast and powerful, which gives them a massive edge over other rivals, especially in the latter stages of the game.
The latest four of their events all saw under 2.5 goals, and the previous five were with only one side scoring. That is because Sweden likes to use ultra-defensive tactics, protecting their goal first and only then thinking about scoring.
Mateusz Klich is out for the hosts due to a yellow card suspension, while Dawidowicz, Milik and Rybus all have injuries. Swiderski is questionable.
On the other side, Augustinsson and Olsson are both out due to injuries.
Head to Head Games
Poland and Sweden met last summer at the EURO. Blagult won that matchup, 3-2, with Claesson scoring the winner in the 94th minute of the event. Previously, the Swedes were up 2-0, but Lewandowski’s brace equalized the result. Still, Sweden had enough focus and power to strike back and secure a win that would put them atop of the group standings, while on the other side, Poland was last, and they went home.
As mentioned before, Sweden likes to play defensive-minded football, and be sure that they will use the same tactics in this clash. Meanwhile, the hosts, too, won’t be keen to open and to attack but wait for some mistake or rely upon Lewandowski’s magic upfront. That is why we pick under 2.5 goals in this game.
Pick: Under 2.5 goals
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Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.