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Sweden Euro Cup Betting Prediction – Swedes Could Surprise Everyone And Win Group D

Posted by Todd Shale on 5/24/2012 3:14:59 PM

Online betting players may not rate Sweden very highly in regards to winning the European Championship this summer, but they offer very good value in their group and they wouldn’t be a bad wager, given that the rest of the group have new managers while Sweden’s manager has been in place for a while.

Manager: Erik Hamren (part-time since November 2009; full-time since September 2010)
Best Euro Finish: Fourth place (1992)
Soccer Betting Odds: +550 to win Group D, +6000 to win Euro 2012

Offense

While they finished second to the Netherlands in Group E of qualification, scoring 31 goals along the way, and it should surprise no one that Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the way with five goals while captaining the side. Ibrahimovic is coming off a great season at A.C. Milan and is looking to carry that momentum over to his national team, but he’ll have some help, especially from midfield as Kim Kallstrom and Christian Wilhelmsson both scored three goals in 2011, as did Sebastien Larsson, who hopes to be recovered from hernia surgery. Johan Elmander will join Ibrahimovic up front, but if the Swedes have to use only one striker, it’s good that they can get goals from the middle of the park. Anders Svensson, at 35 years old and 126 caps, can’t play as much as he used to, but he is an excellent option to bring off the bench, especially late in matches.

However, it is disappointing that 20-year-old John Guidetti will have to miss the tournament because of a thigh injury as he is being regarded as the next big thing in Swedish football. That is why it is even more imperative that Elmander is fully recovered from a broken foot and Larsson is ready to go. Sweden has a surprising wealth of attacking options, and they’re going to need all hands on deck at Euro 2012.

Defense

Goalkeeper Andres Isaksson and central defender Olof Mellberg are the lynchpins of a defense that allowed 11 goals in 10 matches during qualification, and between the two they have 203 appearances for the national team, so experience won’t be a problem. But there is a bit of bad news as Daniel Majstorovic, who played six games for the national team in 2011, injured his knee and won’t be making the trip to Poland and the Ukraine. That means Mikael Lustig and Behrang Safari will have to step up and make the next move in their progress despite having only 23 caps for the national team apiece.

However, the Swedes will have to find someone to sit back and help shield the defense as the rest of the midfield pushes forward. Someone is going to have to play out of position and also learn to curb their attacking instincts and that is always a risky move for a team’s soccer betting odds, especially at such a crucial position such as the holding midfielder. It would seem like the best option is Samuel Holman, who has 25 caps for his national team, but never played a game in 2011.

Intangibles

Erik Hamren has been with the setup for almost three years, so the players are used to what he wants to do and he certainly got their attention after they missed out on the World Cup in South Africa. He managed in the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian leagues before moving to the Swedish national team and he has them playing with a swagger that you need heading into continental tournaments.

He has to figure out who will shield the defense, because that could make the difference between success and failure in a tight group and Sweden will need every edge they can get if they want to move on the quarterfinals.

How It Will Play Out

Sweden is rated by soccer betting odds at +550 to come out on top of their Group D with England, France and the Ukraine, who are co-co-hosting with Poland, and they’re listed at +6000 to win the tournament for the first time, although that is being far too optimistic. The Swedes have been to the quarterfinals just once in their last three European Championships and that will be their goal; maybe with a few breaks, they can get to the semifinals.

The Swedes wanted to play England after losing a friendly in November and will get them in the group stage, and they may need to win that as England won’t have Wayne Rooney through suspension. Winning that match would give Sweden a little cushion and a lot of confidence. England also has a new manager, along with France and the Ukraine, while Hamren has brought stability to the side. That alone makes Sweden a solid darkhorse Euro Cup betting option to win their group.


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