Moldova are hoping to spring another surprise after beating Finland in their opening game, with the narrow defeat in Sweden giving them something to build on before this match. The Scandinavians can make a big step towards the second place in the group with another win over Moldova and that is exactly what they will be looking to achieve.
Tough nut to crack
Moldova have been very disappointing in the World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign, having picked up just 3 points from 10 games despite having Luxembourg and Latvia in their group, although they have shown some improvement in the Euro 2012 qualifiers. The opening win over Finland is the only stand out result so far since the victory over San Marino is hardly a notable achievement. Meanwhile, Moldova suffered narrow defeats to Netherlands, Hungary and Sweden, showing that while the gap behind the top European sides is now smaller, they still lack the quality to get something from those games. The hosts will now try to get something from the Sweden game, but everything suggests they will again come short. Nonetheless, the visitors will not have an easy job breaking this defence-minded side.
Captain Alexandru Epureanu is sidelined with injury, while Igor Picusciac is included despite struggling with injury. Stanislav Ivanov returns after the four-year absence, while Livsit, Cascaval and Boghiu are uncapped players in the squad.
Important game for Sweden
Having narrowly missed out on the place at the World Cup in South Africa, Sweden played really well in the friendly games following the unsuccessful qualifying campaign, winning five and drawing just one of their six warm-up games. The good run continued into the Euro 2012 qualifiers, with Sweden beating Hungary and San Marino before losing to mighty Netherlands. Following few more good showings in friendly games, Erik Hamren’s side beat Moldova at home and are now looking to do a double over the European minnows. The visitors will be missing a couple of first team regulars in this match, but they should still have enough quality to record a very important win, especially seeing they win four out of last five away games.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Berg and Rasmus Elm miss out through injuries, but Olof Mellberg, Danijel Majstorovic and Behrang Safari return to the side.
There is no doubt we will see a very tight game since Moldova are not that easy team to break, but Sweden’s superior quality should eventually help them win the game. Having lost all three games by a one-goal margin, Moldova’s peculiar run looks likely to continue.
Our prediction: Sweden to win by one goal
Odds: 3.40 (12/5)