With Sweden leading 2-1 after the first-leg in Solna last weekend, the all-Scandinavian Euro 2016 play-off now moves to Copenhagen for the concluding act of this epic tale.
Ibrahimović carries Sweden to the brink of qualification
34-years-old and still orchestrating things for his country; Zlatan Ibrahimović looked to be on a personal crusade on Saturday night, as his side took a narrow advantage in their quest to reach France next summer. His goal from the penalty spot shortly after half-time, was his ninth in as many games for his country and more importantly for coach Erik Hamrén, his star player avoided the booking that would have ruled him out of Tuesday’s second-leg. In the build up to last weekend’s first-leg encounter, the big striker compared himself to a finely tuned engine explaining that the more he continued to play, the better he would get. These words looked to be prophetic after he was at the centre of everything that his country created in Solna and he is priced on the best football betting sites at *5.00, to open the scoring in Copenhagen on Tuesday.
Jørgensen strike gives Denmark hope
After being battered for large parts of Saturday’s contest, the Danes came away from Solna with a priceless away goal (which counts double in these play-offs) thanks to a late strike from substitute Nicolai Jørgensen and will now be confident they can overturn the deficit and progress to the finals next summer. Coach Morten Olsen, will stand down from his position after 16 years when the Euro 2016 journey comes to an end and the veteran will be hoping his retirement doesn’t commence directly after the final whistle on Tuesday. Olsen will be hoping that home advantage in the second-leg is the key to success in what is sure to be a white-hot atmosphere at the Parken Stadium. The omens are good for the home side, having eliminated their bitter rivals in the same manner prior to World Cup 2010 in South Africa. The bookmakers however, don’t feel so confident with the best sports betting websites quoting the Danes at *2.40 to progress to France.
Jørgensen’s first-leg heroics could mean a starting berth for him on Tuesday with Brøndby midfielder Thomas Kahlenberg likely to be relegated to the substitute’s bench, as Olsen reverts to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation. Wolfsburg striker Nicklas Bendtner, will be hoping for a better performance than the one in Solna, as he once again leads the line for his country.
Mikael Antonsson looks set to replace Erik Johansson in defence for the Swedes, after the player was injured in the opening 30 minutes of Saturday’s contest. As mentioned earlier, Ibrahimović failed to pick up another booking on Saturday and he will once again be the catalyst for his country. Expect Hamrén to mirror his Danish counterpart and start the game with a 4-4-2 line-up.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Denmark (4-4-2) Schmeichel; Kjær, Agger, Durmisi, Jacobsen,: Kvist, Braithwaite, Eriksen, Fischer; Bendtner, N. Jørgensen
Sweden (4-4-2) Isaksson; Lustig, Antonsson , Granqvist, M. Olsson; Forsberg, Lewicki, Källström, Durmaz; Ibrahimović, Berg
HEAD TO HEAD
In 105 previous meetings, the current score stands at Sweden (47 wins) and Denmark (40 wins). The 2009 play-off win remains the most memorable for Danish supporters. Denmark’s home record in this qualifying campaign reads W2 D1 L1. Sweden’s away record reads W2 D2 L1.
Denmark 2.15 Draw 3.50 Sweden 3.60
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)