Mexico vs Sweden – Wednesday, June 27, 15:00BST/16:00CEST/17:00 MSK – Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg, Russia
The constellation in Group E is among the trickiest at the World Cup and could even be decided by a draw. Mexico had beaten Germany in the first match 1-0 and then disposed of South Korea on matchday 2.
With six points to their name, Mexico are now the favourites to advance to the next round as they need a draw against Sweden. But a defeat to Sweden could see them fall all the way to third place should Germany, which is not unlikely, beat South Korea by a margin of two goals or more.
Mexico have by most accounts surprised the opposition at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Throughout the buildup of the tournament head coach Juan Carlos Osorio had his team play possession football only to turn that tactic on its head against both South Korea and Germany.
Switching from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 Mexico now largely play counter-attacking football based on a quick transition game. It was a strategy that shocked Germany and overwhelmed South Korea even though the Asian side had known about Mexico’s new tactical approach.
Whether Sweden will fall for the tactic remains to be seen, however. “We are going to beat Mexico,” Sweden’s Emil Forsberg told the media in Sochi following the last minute 2-1 defeat against Germany. “We managed to make the game difficult for Germany. That will give us confidence for the next match,” Sweden’s Viktor Claesson added.
With Mexico likely to sit deep once again, however, Sweden will be forced to a more attacking approach against El Tri. It is an approach that Sweden has struggled with in the past.
The Blågult have managed just three goals in six national team games throughout 2018. Furthermore, head coach Janne Anderson has his team play counter-attacking football.
All Sweden need to accomplish is a 1-0 victory. It is a typical result for this side but Mexico, on the other hand, are fantastically equipped to hit Sweden in the transition game. What awaits is an interesting game in which Sweden may have to score more than once to overcome El Tri.
Mexico vs Sweden – Players to look out for:
Carlos Vela #11 – Mexico (Los Angeles FC)
Carlos Vela had an excellent game for Mexico against South Korea. Playing on the right attacking side in Mexico’s three-man attack Vela was a constant threat to Sout Korea’s backline. Creative and full of energy Carlos Vela has shown that making a move to Major League Soccer did not do him any harm regarding talent. In the form of his life, Carlos Vela, together with Hirving Lozano and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will once again complete a dangerous attacking trio.
Emil Forsberg #10 – Sweden (RB Leipzig)
Emil Forsberg is slowly, but surely, regaining his form that made him among the best Bundesliga players during the 2016/17 season. Struggling with injuries all season Forsberg was somewhat off the boil for much of this season and his lack of form was also a major concern for Sweden where he is the country’s biggest offensive threat after Zlatan Ibrahimović was left off the squad. The 26-year-old is a tremendous threat from out wide. Set pieces and crosses are a speciality, as is his ability from a free kick in range. Germany’s biggest threat in this fixture will be fully known to them.
Mexico vs Sweden – Match Stats
- Mexico and Sweden have already faced each other on nine occasions but only once at a World Cup. At the 1958 World Cup Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 at the group stage.
- Mexico have lost just one of the last five games against Sweden (W2 D2)
- Mexico have never before won three World Cup matches in a row and could now become the first Concacaf team to complete the feat.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Mexico vs Sweden – 1-2
Mexico vs Sweden – Lineups
Ochoa – Gallardo, Moreno, Salcedo, Alvarez – Guardado, Herrera, Layún – Lozano, Chicharito, Vela
Head Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio
Olsen – Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson – Claessen, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg – Toivonen, Berg
Head Coach: Janne Andersson
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.