Euro 2020 Preview: Spain vs Sweden- Can La Roja kick-off their Euro campaign with a bang or will the Swedes spoil their opening day party?
Spain and Sweden kick off their respective Euro 2020 campaigns on Monday when they face each other in a Group E matchup at Estadio de La Cartuja in Seville. Preparations for the tournament have been tough for Luis Enrique, whose Spain squad was compelled to go into isolation because of positive Covid cases in the squad and were forced to field their U21 side in their last warm-up match against Lithuania.
La Roja stormed through the European Championship qualification, going unbeaten in their 10 matches and scoring a total of 31 goals. They come into this encounter in decent form, having won three and drawn four of their past seven matches. However, Luis Enrique’s players have only played together once since the end of the domestic season – a goalless stalemate against Portugal.
Sweden led by Janne Andersson have also been in good form entering this match. They won both warm-up matches against Finland and Armenia, and have six victories and one defeat in their previous seven games. In the European Championships qualification, they were in the same group as Spain, with La Roja grabbing four points from the Anderson-led Sweden side.
Sweden haven’t beaten Spain since 2006, but an in-form Sweden side will be hoping to turn the tables this time around.
The Spanish team has a solid squad, but they will be without captain Sergio Busquets, who tested positive for Covid 19.
Spain has expanded the size of its “parallel training bubble” to 17 players after Leeds’ Diego Llorente also tested positive for Covid-19. The defender tested positive on Tuesday night, and is following an individual training regimen just like the rest of the team. Adama Traore is also absent from the squad set to face Sweden owing to an injury, with no word on when he will return.
BREAKING: Sergio Busquets tested positive for COVID-19 and is likely to miss the first two games of 🇪🇸 at the Euros. pic.twitter.com/KJ3qvcxfRH
— 433 (@433) June 7, 2021
Sergio Ramos, Spain’s all-time appearances leader and captain, was not called up due to a lack of game time this season, which obviously raised some eyebrows.
Spain Probable Lineup: Simon; M.Llorente, Garcia, P.Torres, Gaya; Rodri, Koke, Pedri; F.Torres, Olmo, Moreno
— FootTheBall (@FootTheBall) May 24, 2021
Sweden will be without their talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He confirmed his comeback to play for Sweden at the European Championship this summer. However, due to a knee injury, the veteran striker was ruled out of the Euros.
They will also be missing Dejan Kulusevski and Mattias Svanberg, who both tested positive for Covid. Therefore both countries will be forced to field weakened teams in this encounter and maybe in following group games. Sweden has no injury concerns heading into this match.
Sweden Probable Lineup: Olsen; Lustig, Danielson, Lindelof, Bengtsson; S.Larrson, Ekdal, Olsson, Forsberg; Berg, Isak
Dani Olmo is a phenomenal talent with a sky-high ceiling. The Leipzig man has a merciless ability to produce individual moments of brilliance as well as a very clever occupancy of areas to create openings for his teammates as well between opposing defences. Aside from his vision to be a fantastic playmaker, the 23-year-old has learned to consistently find the back of the net.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) March 28, 2021
Keeping his blistering form in mind, Dani Olmo is the apparent choice to be a game-changer for Spain throughout this Euro campaign.
This winter, Real Sociedad made a risky but very bold decision of letting Willian Jose leave, leaving Alexander Isak as the main reference. And that has done wonders for The White and Blues. This season, the 21-year-old striker struck the back of the net 17 times in 34 La Liga appearances. He will have to be the talisman for his nation, and he will have enormous shoes to fill in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence.
He is an extraordinary striker in all senses, excelling in the departments of agility, speed, and finishing. The 1.90-metre-tall Swede has a great future ahead of him and will try to boost his stock and profile, starting at Euro 2020.
Spain has fond memories of the Estadio de La Cartuja in Seville, where they defeated Germany 6-0 in a UEFA Nations League match in November. La Roja will have the benefit of playing at home and boast a strong squad, but Sweden has been in excellent form and it would not be surprising if they hand an upset to Luis Enrique’s team on Monday.
FootTheBall predicts Spain 3-1 Sweden