UEFA Euro Qualifiers: Sweden vs Belgium Betting Preview
New Look Belgium Take on Sweden
Tricky Group F Kicks Off
With Roberto Martinez’s dismissal and the international retirement of Eden Hazard, Belgium’s golden generation is over, in effect. The Red Devils only managed to win a bronze medal at the 2018 World Cup but they still have a talented group.
Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku are all still around for new coach Domenico Tedesco to rely on. Meanwhile, a 41-year old Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been called up to Sweden’s national team for the match vs Belgium. In a difficult Euro qualifying Group F, which also includes Austria, let’s review the Sweden vs Belgium betting odds.
Sweden vs Belgium
Date & Time:
Location: Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden
Sweden and Belgium last met in Group E of the 2016 European Championship. Belgium’s Radja Nainggolan scored the game’s only goal, which marked a third straight Belgium victory over Sweden.
These teams have only met four times since the turn of the century and Sweden are a winless 0-1-3 in that time. In fact, Sweden’s last win over Belgium came in 1961 and the Sweden vs Belgium betting odds price the Red Devils as favorites once again. Belgium lead the all-time series 9-4, with two draws.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Makes Sweden Squad
- Next Match: March 27th vs. Azerbaijan
- Key Injuries: D Emil Holm (Day-to-Day), D Isak Hien (Day-to-Day)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to defy father time. The 41-year old AC Milan star recently returned from a long-term ACL injury and is fully healthy once again. The all-time Swedish leading goal scorer initially called it quits on his national team career in 2016 but returned in 2021.
Ibrahimovic figures to lead the line of a dangerous Swedish attack vs Belgium. Along with Ibra, coach Janne Anderson has Alexander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski at his disposal. All of them are above six feet tall and could pose matchup nightmares for Belgium.
Sweden missed out on the 2022 World Cup and have had a difficult year. After losing 2-0 to Poland in the World Cup qualifying playoff, Sweden finished last in their UEFA Nations League group. That means they’ll play in the “C” league in the next edition of the competition. However, they did finish second in the last round of the UEFA Euro qualifying standings. The Blue and Yellow qualified for Euro 2020 ahead of rivals Norway and reached the round of 16 at the tournament.
While Sweden do have a dangerous attack and experienced midfield, their defensive line is far from fully formed. Only two current defenders have 10 appearances or more for the national team and neither Emil Holm nor Isak Hein are fully fit.
Captain Victor Lindelof and Ludwig Augustinsson should be set as starters, though. Sweden have conceded two goals per game in their last five competitive matches and need to find solutions to their defensive issues sooner rather than later.
Belgium Kick off Tedesco Era
- Next Match: March 28th at Germany (Friendly)
- Key Injuries: M Youri Tielemans, M Leander Dendoncker, M Thorgan Hazard, F Michy Batshuayi, F Dries Mertens, F
Domenico Tedesco’s first-ever Belgium squad features just three outfield players over the age of 30. It’s a clear sign of a transition from the overreliance on aging stars that characterized Roberto Martinez’s tenure.
Belgium’s performance at the World Cup was a massive disappointment, as the Red Devils failed to make it out of their group. Now, they’ll attempt to pick the pieces back up as they begin their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
Along with Eden Hazard, longtime center back Toby Alderweireld also announced his international retirement. Jan Vertonghen, Belgium’s 35-year old captain and center back, is still around but Tedesco will have to find his best partner in the heart of defense.
One candidate is Leicester City’s Wout Faes and others include Sebastiaan Bornauw, Arthur Theate and the 19-year old Zeno Debast. The presence of Kevin de Bruyne and Yannick Carrasco in Belgium’s midfield is enough to keep them competitive.
With Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker injured, other players will get an opportunity to step up now. Tedesco handed another 19-year old, Romeo Lavia, his first call up and the AC Milan duo of Charles de Ketelaere and Alexis Saelemaekers could play big roles here.
Up front, Romelu Lukaku should continue to lead the Belgium line. In his last match for Belgium, Lukaku missed a bunch of clear cut chances but he’s been solid for Inter Milan lately. In-form Arsenal man Leandro Trossard also figures to start on Friday.
Tedesco handed another teenager, in Johan Bakayoko, his first call up as Jeremy Doku had to pull out of the squad due to injury. Even with all of their injuries, the UEFA odds give Belgium a solid chance to win on the road here.
Match Analysis and Odds:
Sweden failed to win any of their three home matches in last year’s UEFA Nations League B campaign. That said, they are ½-goal underdogs heading into their UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying opener. The Blue and Yellow come in at -145 odds to cover and manage a win or draw, while Belgium sit at +115 ATS and moneyline odds.
Recall that Belgium are on a three-match winning streak vs Sweden. However, the Red Devils finished 2022 off in the worst way possible, with just one goal in their last four matches. At least they kept two clean sheets in three World Cup matches, though.
The Sweden vs Belgium betting odds also price hosts Sweden at +245 odds to kick off their qualifying campaign with a win. In UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers, Sweden went 6-3-1, while Belgium finished with a perfect 10-0 record. In what figures to be a transition period for Belgium, putting together a perfect record could be a huge challenge. A draw also comes in at +225 odds here.
Six of the last seven meetings between these two teams have finished with two or fewer goals. Under 2½ does come in at -145 odds as Belgium have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net lately. With Sweden’s defensive problems over the last year, the Red Devils should get chances. Whether they take them is a different story, though.Follow us on Twitter