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

Sports Mole previews Monday's European Championship clash between Spain and Sweden, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Three-time winners Spain will be looking to make the perfect start to their Euro 2020 campaign when they take on Sweden in Seville on Monday night.

La Roja are bidding to win a fourth European Championship, which would make them the most successful team in the history of the competition, while Sweden will be attempting to make it out of the group stages for the first time since Euro 2004, when they progressed to the quarter-finals.


Match preview

Spain head coach Luis Enrique pictured on June 4, 2021© Reuters

Spain's preparations for this summer's European Championship have been far from ideal, with captain Sergio Busquets and then defender Diego Llorente testing positive for coronavirus in quick succession.

Luis Enrique's side drew 0-0 with Portugal in their first pre-tournament friendly on June 4 but were forced to field their Under-21s for the clash with Lithuania on June 8, with the first team isolating due to Busquets's positive test.

The Under-21s put in an excellent performance against Lithuania, with Hugo Guillamon, Brahim Diaz, Juan Miranda and Javi Puado on the scoresheet, and the result stretched Spain's unbeaten run in all competitions to eight matches, which has included wins in three of their last four fixtures.

La Roja have won this competition on three previous occasions, level with Germany, and will now be looking to move out alone in terms of trophies, having triumphed in 1964, 2008 and 2012.

It has been a difficult few years for Spain in international football, exiting the 2014 World Cup in the group stage, before only reaching the round of 16 in Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup; they simply cannot be written off at this level, though, and will be eyeing a perfect start to Group E on Monday night.

Sweden's Marcus Danielson celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on June 5, 2021© Reuters

Sweden, as mentioned, have previous experience when it comes to advancing to the latter stages of the European Championship, making the semi-finals in 1992 and quarter-finals in 2004.

The Swedes have now been present in each of the last six tournaments, but they have been eliminated in the group stage in three successive competitions and will be determined to go further this year.

Group E is fascinating, with Poland and Slovakia joining these two teams in the group, and Sweden will be wary of suffering a poor result in their opener considering that there is no easy match in the section.

Sweden should enter the competition full of confidence, though, having won each of their last five matches, including back-to-back friendly victories over Finland and Armenia on May 29 and June 5 respectively.

Head coach Janne Andersson said that facing Spain is still "one of the toughest challenges in the world of football", but the Blue and Yellows certainly have the players capable of making Monday's fixture a very uncomfortable 90 minutes for a Spain side very much in a transitional period.

Spain form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Sweden form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W



Team News

Spain's Sergio Busquets pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Spain will be unable to call upon Busquets due to his positive coronavirus test, but Diego Llorente could potentially be available, having now recorded two negative coronavirus tests.

Busquets's role in the middle of the park could go to Rodri, while Thiago Alcantara and Koke are also likely to get the nod in midfield, but there are a number of unknowns leading into the first match.

Pau Torres could edge out Eric Garcia to start alongside Aymeric Laporte at the back, while Gerard Moreno, who enjoyed an excellent season for Villarreal, should start in the final third of the field.

Unai Simon is likely to get the nod between the sticks, while Ferran Torres should join Moreno and Alvaro Morata as part of a front three; Morata is comfortably the leading goalscorer in the squad with 19, and Enrique will look to the 28-year-old for inspiration this summer.

As for Sweden, head coach Andersson is expected to select a 4-4-2 formation, with Marcus Berg being joined in the final third by Alexander Isak, who excelled for Real Sociedad during the 2020-21 campaign.

Much like Spain, it is difficult to predict the XI, particularly in midfield, but Sebastien Larsson's experience should see him start, while Emil Forsberg and Albin Ekdal are likely to be in the side.

Manchester United's Victor Lindelof will feature in the middle of the back four, which will also include the experienced Mikael Lustig, while Marcus Danielson could also be selected for the Group E clash.

Dejan Kulusevski and Mattias Svanberg have also both recently tested positive for coronavirus, meaning that neither will be available for this contest.

Spain possible starting lineup:
Simon; M Llorente, Laporte, P Torres, Alba; Thiago, Rodri, Koke; F Torres, Morata, G Moreno

Sweden possible starting lineup:
Olsen; Lustig, Lindelof, Danielson, Augustinsson; S Larsson, Ekdal, Olsson, Forsberg; Isak, Berg


SM words green background

We say: Spain 2-1 Sweden

This could end up being a very tricky match for Spain, as Sweden should be full of confidence. Spain's preparations, as mentioned, have been difficult, but we fancy Enrique's side to open their Euro 2020 campaign with a narrow but extremely important win.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Spain vs Sweden

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Draw
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Sweden
11.6%
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Spain players celebrate Mikel Oyarzabal's goal against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League on October 10, 2020
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CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21131246
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171346
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AustraliaAustralia1031427
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
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Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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Major League Soccer
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Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
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