Sweden Sweden vs. USA USA

Wednesday, June 6th 2011, 20.45 CET

Oh how I’ve been looking forward to this game! Aside from the France vs. Germany game, Sweden vs. USA is by far the most exciting game of these group stages! The two titans, who won everything until now (just like France and Germany), will go head to head on Wednesday evening in Wolfsburg, for the (most probable) prize of avoiding Brazil in the quarter finals. But I personally believe that this clash is more about prestige than points, and this game is likely to repeat itself during this very edition of the Women’s World Cup!

Let’s take a look at the teams. Sweden. They come after two tight, 1-0 victories, against Colombia and against North Korea. In both of them, the opponents managed, for the most part, to contain them and often to threat them (mostly in North Korea’s case). Nevertheless, the Swedes proved to be hard on their feet and stood their ground. They also showed us they can dance with joy! It happened after the goal against Korea DPR, when the whole team did a little dance. However, moments later this lead to a yellow card being awarded to one of Sweden’s key players, Caroline Seger, the Swedes’ playmaker. She will have to sit the USA game out, and this is not encouraging at all for the North Europeans. Granted, as Therese Sjogran says, Seger can be replaced by the likes of Nilla Fischer or Marie Hammarstrom, Sweden’s game will definitely have to be changed. Which I personally think it’s a good thing, since they seemed too predictable in both previous games. Maybe a change at the midfield will be refreshing enough to trick the Americans’ strong defense.

On the other side, the US of A are having the time of their lives: 2 victories, 5 goals scored and none conceded! Oh, and they also sang “Born in the USA” to their fans. Crazy, crazy girls! They held their ground well against North Korea in their first game at this year’s Women’s World Cup, and blasted their way through their second match, a 3-0 against Colombia and thus booked their ticket to the quarter finals. Their teamwork is excellent and the players seem to know each other very well. The passes go smoothly and the attack works like a spear into the opponent’s flanks. Their high tempo, especially at midfield can prove deadly for the Swedes, who now have to do without Caroline Seger. It will be interesting to see whether the Americans will use the same tactics used against Colombia or try something new in their last group game.

All in all, this will be a very interesting game to watch, and a golden opportunity to win some money by betting. Looking at the bookies, it seems to me that Bwin underestimates the Swedes at 5.75 odds, while a draw is worth 3.55. I honestly think the Swedish team is more dangerous than that, but still, could they win? I think yes. They work very well under pressure, and the Americans will surely start the game in high tempo like they did against the Colombians. The Swedes showed against North Korea that they can handle these situations, and with a refreshed midfield I think the North Europeans will beat the North Americans at a game of possession and eventually win the whole thing. I’m staking 2 units on that. That is my football tip and soccer prediction here.

 Prediction: Sweden to win for 2 units

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