Midway through the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Sweden and Macedonia FYR square off in an international friendly at Swedbank Stadion in Malmo.
This will be Sweden’s final warm-up game for the all-important qualifier against Austria that is due on Friday, so no doubt the hosts are going to take the match very seriously.
Erik Hamren’s side have done really well in recent international friendlies, defeating England 4-2 before narrowly losing to Argentine, while goalless draw in Slovakia can also be considered a decent result.
What is even more important, Sweden are in a good position to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, and they might even contest Germany for the first place in the group.
The team did fail to build on the amazing comeback in Germany, when they earned one point after coming from four goals behind, as they could only muster a goalless draw with Ireland last time out.
Sweden are now in need of a morale-boosting victory ahead of the Austria game and they are 1.29 (2/7) with William Hill to return to winning ways.
After scoring six goals in last five matches for the national team, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is certainly going to be the main threat for the Macedonia FYR defence.
Tobias Hysen and Behrang Safari were forced to withdraw from the squad, while Olof Melberg has refused to reconsider international retirement.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Isaksson – Lustig, Granqvist, Olsson, Wendt – Larsson, Kallstrom, R. Elm, Kacaniklic – Ibrahimovic, Elmander.
Macedonia FYR were extremely unfortunate to be placed into one of the most difficult 2014 World Cup qualifying groups and nobody is surprised to see them out of contention for the top two places.
The Red Lynx enjoyed a bright start to the qualifying campaign, beating Serbia at home and bringing one point from Scotland, but they lost both encounters against Croatia despite playing really well in both Zagreb and Skopje.
Back to back defeats to Belgium effectively ended their qualifying hopes and all that’s left now is for the team to start preparing for the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
However, seeing as how Macedonia FYR arrive in Sweden without a number of first team regulars, it is hardly surprising away win pays as much as 13.00 (12/1) at BetVictor.
High-profile players Goran Pandev and Goran Popov both miss out, while Marko Pavlovski has rejected the call-up as he opted to represent Serbia instead.
Veliche Sumulikoski, David Babunski, Martin Bogatinov and Muhamed Demiri are all unavailable for the Sweden clash.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Pachovski – Georgievski, Shikov, Noveski, Ristovski – Gligorov, Tasevski, Hasani – Ibraimi, Jahovic, Trickovski.
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