Sweden vs Slovakia UEFA EURO LIVE Football Score 18 June 2021
“Tactical flexibility” was a team quality that coach Janne Andersson praised after the 0-0 draw against Spain, a point won under siege. Knowing they’d rarely have the ball, Sweden retreated into a secure defensive unit. The tactical approach against Slovakia will be different, with possession likely to be more even between the two sides. I expect the midfield to contribute more creativity than on Monday, and a player like Emil Forsberg to take some of the attacking burden off Isak’s shoulders.
The surprise victory against Poland put the team in high spirits, but a repeat against experienced opponents will be a tough challenge, not least since Slovakia have never beaten Sweden. Štefan Tarkovič, whose first game at the helm was a 1-1 friendly draw in Sweden as caretaker coach in October 2018, has a full-strength team and is in a unique situation: Slovakia have never previously gone into their second match at a EURO having won the first.
Benefiting from a disciplined defensive effort in holding Spain to a goalless draw in their first fixture, Sweden come into their second full of confidence and in a strong position to qualify.
With Victor Lindelof receiving the award as UEFA’s man of the match in Seville, Janne Andersson’s side were mostly on the back foot – with a competition record of just 15% possession – but also offered a threat at the other end, as Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak hit the post and then later found Marcus Berg, who spurned a fine chance to snatch all three points.
Incidentally, Isak’s goal in a friendly against the Swedes’ next opponents Slovakia – back in 2017, aged just 17 – made him the youngest ever player to score a senior international goal for the Nordic nation. Now, in the absence of their 39-year-old talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it is likely to be the young striker’s responsibility to break down the Slovakian defence on Friday.
After battling gamely for a point won almost under siege, possession is likely to be more even between two well-matched sides at the Krestovsky Stadium and – with the Blagult having won five of their last six matches – head coach Andersson will expect to put one foot in the final stages by turning over a team to whom Sweden have never lost before.