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Preview: Spain vs. Sweden - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Monday's Euro 2020 qualification fixture between Spain and Sweden.

Spain head into Monday night's Euro 2020 qualifier with Sweden looking to register their fourth successive victory in Group F.

Sweden make the trip to Madrid just two points adrift of their hosts, although the Scandinavian nation can play with a certain level of freedom having already guaranteed themselves a playoff spot.


Luis Enrique in charge of Spain on October 8, 2018© Reuters

Missing out on a place in the UEFA Nations League Finals left Spain needing to perform at the start of their Euro 2020 campaign, and Luis Enrique will be delighted that his side have registered maximum points from three matches.

However, Spain have not been at their best against each of Norway, Malta and the Faroe Islands, whom they defeated by a 4-1 scoreline on Friday night.

Enrique will take the positives from shaking off a disappointing period at the end of 2018, although he will also acknowledge that there is still more to come from his talented squad.

A high-profile clash with Sweden may be what is required to get the best out of his players, given that Sweden will arrive in Madrid knowing that their results in the Nations League have already sealed their place in the playoffs.

That scenario may inadvertently benefit Spain, however, as they look to create a five-point cushion between themselves and Monday's opponents ahead of the summer break.

Enrique will want to see that this group have learned from squandering an advantage in the Nations League, as Spain somehow failed to progress having recorded back-to-back wins over England and Croatia respectively.

Complacency - and a ruthless first-half performance from England in the reverse fixture - effectively cost Spain an opportunity to lift another trophy, and alarm bells will ring with Enrique if Spain do not perform against Sweden.

An October double-header in Scandinavia will also be on the mind of Enrique, which will provide Spain with an added incentive to put themselves in the best possible position ahead of that trip.

Recent form: WWW
Recent form (all competitions): LLWWWW


Sweden manager Janne Andersson on November 13, 2017© Reuters

Sweden caused a surprise at the 2018 World Cup as they progressed from a group which included Germany and Mexico in order to reach the quarter-finals, where they lost out to England.

There was a fear that they would suffer a hangover from their exploits in Russia, and those concerns came to fruition as they failed to win any of their four games in September or October.

However, Janne Andersson has managed to turn things around. Sweden have put together a run of four wins and a draw from five outings, which in part led to them topping their UEFA Nations League qualifying group against the odds.

Sweden have not faced any of European football's major players during that run, although a narrow success in Turkey and a comeback draw against rivals Sweden are hugely credible.

Blagult are now on a run of seven matches without defeat, and it has left Andersson and his squad brimming with confidence ahead of one of their toughest-possible tests on Monday evening.

Andersson will also be delighted with the recent contributions of Viktor Claesson and Robin Quaison, who have both scored in each of their last three appearances for their national team.

On the flipside, it means that they have netted all but two of Sweden's last eight goals, but Andersson is in need of attacking players he can rely on after the international retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Nevertheless, Andersson may decide to err on the side of caution at the Bernabeu, leaving the possibility of one of the in-form duo being left among the replacements.

Recent form: WDW
Recent form (all competitions): WLDWDW

Team News

David de Gea looks downbeat during the World Cup group game between Portugal and Spain on June 15, 2018© Reuters

Kepa Arrizabalaga was preferred to David de Gea for the game with the Faroe Islands, but the Manchester United stopper may be recalled for Monday's match.

Enrique is also expected to make several outfield changes, the most likely being a return for Jordi Alba at left-back and Sergio Busquets in central midfield.

Marco Asensio should also feature for Spain, meaning that Santi Cazorla will drop down to the bench having completed the 90 minutes on Friday.

Andersson is unlikely to make major changes to his Sweden starting lineup, although Sebastian Larsson could be brought in to bolster the midfield.

Marcus Berg may get the nod over Quaison, despite the latter's recent displays in the final third.

Spain possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; Carvajal, Ramos, Hermoso, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, Isco; Aspas, Morata, Asensio

Sweden possible starting lineup:
Olsen; Lustig, Jansson, Helander, Augustinsson; Claesson, Olsson, Ekdal, Larsson, Forsberg; Berg

Head To Head

Monday's match will represent the 13th encounter between the two nations, with Spain registering five wins in comparison to three victories for Sweden.

However, it has been 11 years - almost to the day - since these sides faced each other; on that occasion, Spain recorded a narrow 2-1 triumph at Euro 2008.

Sweden have not defeated Spain on their travels since a 3-1 success in an international friendly back in 1988.

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We say: Spain 3-1 Sweden

Spain have not been totally convincing in their opening three fixtures, but we are backing Enrique's side to perform in what is regarded as the most important game in the group. Sweden have shown in the past that they can overcome difficult tests, although they may come up short in Madrid.

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Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring for Spain on March 23, 2019
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