Sweden will look to get their preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup underway as they take on Chile in an international friendly on Saturday.
Sweden somehow prevailed over Italy to book their place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. But, their work is far from done, with the nation facing a tough group, with the likes of South Korea, Germany and Mexico in it. Janne Andersson would ideally want his team to take shape and go into the World Cup with some form.
Chile, on the other hand, were heartbroken after they failed to qualify for the World Cup. Reinaldo Rueda must now rebuild the National Team for the next set of tournaments and his work starts from the match against Sweden on Saturday. The manager has called up many new faces and it will be interesting to see how they settle into the setup.
Their last encounter was more than a decade back and saw the two nations play out a 1-1 draw. Ahead of their latest meeting, we take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Janne Andersson has called up three largely inexperienced goalkeepers, at least at the international level. However, Karl-Johan Johnsson should command the goal for Sweden on Saturday while Kristoffer Nordfeldt could also be given a chance to show his form at the international level.
The back four is largely fixed, with the likes of Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist and Matin Olsson the first-choice defence and everyone has been called up to the squad.
Andersson is set to go with his tried and tested 4-4-2 formation with two central midfielders playing the role of a number 6. Emil Forsberg and Jimmy Durmaz should be on either side of the midfield, with Gustav Svensson and captain Sebastian Larsson to make up the numbers in central midfield.
Marcus Berg and John Guidetti should be the frontmen for Sweden on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Johnsson; Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Olsson; Durmaz, Svensson, Larsson, Forsberg; Berg, Guidetti
Rueda has chosen to call up several players playing in and around the home country in an attempt to rebuild the squad. Veteran goalkeeper Johnny Herrera is likely to be given another chance to earn one more senior cap for Chile on Saturday.
The manager prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation and is likely to deploy the same for Chile. Mauricio Isla and Jean Beausejour should guard either flank, with the inexperienced pairing of Enzo Roco and Paulo Diaz to be preferred at centre-back.
Gary Medel should partner Charles Aranguiz at the base of 4-2-3-1 while Arturo Vidal is handed a bit more advanced role. Alexis Sanchez should assume his spot on the left wing while Martin Rodriguez should start on the right.
Eduardo Vargas is likely to be given the nod upfront.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Herrera; Isla, Roco, Diaz, Beausejour; Medel, Aranguiz; Rodriguez, Vidal, Alexis; Vargas
Player to Watch
Victor Lindelof has been underwhelming at Manchester United, with the player taking some time to adapt. But, he has been feeling at home within the Swedish National setup and was one of the protagonists in their victory over Italy in the playoffs.
The Swede’s form will be crucial to the nation’s fortunes in Russia and his performances at the international level might just unlock a more profound role for himself at club level.
Sweden 1-2 Chile
Sweden have been very disappointing since qualifying for the World Cup. Although Andersson did call up a largely inexperienced team for the previous bout of friendlies, Sweden will have their work cut out if they are to secure a win on Saturday.
Chile, on the other hand, are not participating in the World Cup and will be fired up to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with at the international level on Saturday. We expect Chile to edge out Sweden, but a draw would not surprise us either.