Sweden vs Czech RepublicWorld Cup, KO: 19:45 Mar 24, 2022, Friends Arena
Sweden host Czech Republic in the European qualifying playoff semi-final for the 2022 FIFA world Cup on Thursday. While the Swedes appear to have slightly lost their way in their last few outings, their recent home record should give them the edge here.
Sweden secured a place in the playoffs after finishing second behind Spain in Group B of the World Cup qualifiers. They won their first three matches but failed to maintain their fine start and lost their way towards the end.
The Swedes lost their last two matches in the group stage of the qualifiers, suffering a 2-0 defeat to Georgia before falling 1-0 to Spain. Their failure to register a goal in both matches will also be troubling for manager Janne Andersson.
The good news for Sweden is that both matches were away from home and they are set to return to the Friends Arena where they maintained a 100% record during the group stage. They also appeared more solid at the back in their home fixtures, conceding just one goal in four group B matches.
Czech Republic reached the payoffs after a group stage campaign that was almost the opposite of Sweden’s. They made a slow start but recovered in time to win their final two matches in the group to progress.
The Czechs travel to Sweden with three straight wins across all competitions, claiming successive 2-0 victories over Belarus and Estonia in the qualifiers. Sandwiched between both wins was a 7-0 victory over Kuwait in an international friendly in November.
One problem for Czech Republic is their poor record on the road having suffered two defeats in their last three away matches in the qualifiers. Their prospects in Sweden have been made worse by the absence of star striker Patrik Schick, who is currently sidelined with injury.
How the bookies view it
Head to head
Sweden have never lost to Czech Republic, claiming one win and two draws from three previous matches. The last meeting between both teams was a 1-1 draw in an international friendly back in 2016.
Players to watch
Sweden are generally solid defensively at home, keeping clean sheets in three of their four qualifying matches in front of their fans. Captain Victor Lindelof is often impressive at the back for the Swedes and with Czech Republic missing striker Patrik Schick, they will be targeting another clean sheet at 6/4 with Paddy Power.
At the other end of the pitch, veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended but Sweden still have enough quality in attack. Dejan Kulusevski and Alexander Isak both head into Thursday’s clash in good form and can ensure the Swedes score at 2/9 with Paddy Power.
Anything else catch the eye?
Given Sweden’s solid defensive record at home and with Czech Republic depleted in attack, BTTS NO can be backed at 20/23 with BoyleSports. The Swedes have won to nil in three of their last four home matches and could be set for a repeat at 23/10 with Paddy Power.
Sweden’s solid defensive record at home means they could also be the only team to score on Thursday at 9/4 with William Hill.
This World Cup match between Sweden and Czech Republic will be played on Mar 24, 2022 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Sweden vs Czech Republic prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.