Sweden vs Austria

October 10, 2013
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Second-placed Sweden would secure their place in the play-offs with three points from this match, but draw or defeat could put them in a very difficult position ahead of the final group game against Germany. Meanwhile, being three points adrift at the moment, Austria are well aware they need to get at least one point from Friends Arena in Solna.

Masters of their own destiny

Despite not really impressing at the Euro 2012, Sweden enjoyed a solid start to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, as opening victories over Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands were followed by the amazing comeback from four goals down, resulting in 4-4 draw in Germany. The team then suffered two successive slip-ups as they played out a goalless draw against Ireland at home before losing to Austria, but they have since managed to return to the right track. Victories over Faroe Islands, Ireland and Kazakhstan saw Sweden create a three-point advantage over their rivals for the second place in the standings, although it is clear they cannot afford to relax just yet. With Erik Hamren’s side hosting Germany in final group game and Austria, who have a superior goal difference at the moment, visiting Faroe Islands, the hosts know all too well they need to win on Friday if they want to avoid a nervy finish to the qualifying campaign. Nevertheless, with so much quality in their ranks, Sweden look they can cope with the pressure and record what would be an invaluable victory.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to start after shaking off a minor injury, but important midfielder Albin Ekdal is out with a muscle injury.

Austria still in the race

Austrian football has been on an uptrend of late, with Austria Wien reaching Champions League group stages and Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid playing in Europa League, and the national team have profited from this as well. This is the first time in a while that Das Team have a chance of actually reaching the tournament finals, although they still face an uphill task. Since picking up just one point from opening two matches, Austria have done really well, beating Sweden and Ireland at home among other results, but it does seem as though they are not yet ready to mix it up with Europe’s top sides. Marcelo Koller’s side were pretty fortunate to pick up four points from Ireland games, scoring two late goals, although they were quite convincing in the first match against Sweden. Nevertheless, being three points adrift of their next opponents and needing a victory in Solna, there are no doubts the visitors will be under a lot of pressure on Friday, and we cannot really say they are used to dealing with these kinds of circumstances.

With full-back Christian Fuchs recovering from a ligament injury, boss Marcelo Koller will have fully fit squad to choose from.


Besides boasting several world-class players unlike their opponents, Sweden also have plenty of experience and they are used to playing these extremely important matches. Meanwhile, Austria lack some quality to match their more illustrious opponents, and it looks as though this will be the end of the road for them.

Top pick: Home win   1.73 (8/11) @ Betfred

Alternative pick 1: Sweden/Sweden   2.70 (17/10) @ William Hill

Alternative pick 2: Under 2.5 goals   1.95 (19/20) @ Coral

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