Sweden vs South Korea – Monday, June 18, 13:00BST/14:00CEST/15:00 MSK – Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
The Swedish side made headlines ahead of the World Cup after knocking out Italy in the UEFA World Cup qualification playoffs. Hence, there have been rumblings that Sweden could manage an upset or two at this tournament.
Instead of focusing on the success of qualifying, however, much of the talk ahead of the tournament focused on whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be included in the squad. Ultimately, the LA Galaxy striker was left out of the side by head coach Janne Anderson.
The debate on Ibrahimovic, however, showed that Sweden, in general, could have used an injection of talent. Many of the country’s top players, first and foremost Emil Forsberg and John Guidetti, have struggled with form. Meanwhile, top striker Marcus Berg is playing for Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates.
South Korea, meanwhile, have struggled on their path to Russia only qualifying for Russia on the final day of qualifying with a 0-0 draw against Uzbekistan. A poor run of results has meant that the country fired head coach Uli Stielike and replaced him with Shin Tae-yong, who was previously in charge of the youth sides.
Tae-yong was able to get the job done by coaching South Korea to the World Cup. But the South Korean side lacks true depth and although Sweden have their very own problems they will be favourites in this match.
Sweden vs South Korea – Players to look out for:
Emil Forsberg #10 – Sweden (RB Leipzig)
Emil Forsberg had a disappointing season with RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga. After leading the Bundesliga in assists throughout the 2016/17 season, Forsberg struggled with injuries throughout 2017/18. On top of that constant transfer, rumours surrounded the player. Sweden, however, will be reliant on the creative attacking midfielder and hope that he can leave a difficult season behind him to lead his country through a difficult World Cup group.
Heung-Min Son #7 – South Korea (Tottenham)
Heung-Min Son is South Korea’s biggest star. The Tottenham Hotspur attacking midfielder scored 12 goals and seven assists in 37 English Premier League games this season. Fast and agile Son will be South Korea’s most dangerous man, and Sweden will have to do well to contain him.
Sweden vs South Korea – Match Stats
- Sweden have not lost any of their last four national team games against Sweden (W2 D2)
- At the 1948 Olympics Sweden celebrated their highest ever win – beating South Korea 12-0
- Sweden are undefeated in six group stage matches
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Sweden vs South Korea – 2-1
Sweden vs South Korea – Lineups
Olsen – Augustinsson, Lindelof, Granqvist, Lustig – Ekdal, Larsson – Forsberg, Claesson – Toivonen, Berg
Head Coach: Janne Anderson
Kim – Ki, Yun, Oh – Kim, Jung, Ja-song Lee, Koo, Yong Lee – Hwang, Son
Head Coach: Shin Tae-yong
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.