The top two teams in the European Championship Qualification Group F face each other on Tuesday night, as Spain host Sweden, kicking off Monday at 8:45pm local time. Spain have won all of their matches, whilst Sweden are currently in 2nd place.

Home Team: Spain

After a disappointing World Cup last summer, new manager Luis Enrique has been brought in to make sure Spain are in the latter stages of the biggest international tournaments again. A glorious period of Xaxi, Iniesta and David Villa has now surpassed them, but they still boast one of the best squads in the entirety of Europe. Despite missing out on the UEFA Nations League, they have been in very good form in their opening three matches in this European Championship qualification. On match day one, they had their toughest fixture against Norway, and managed to win it 2-1. Since then, they managed to comfortably beat whipping boys Malta and Faroe Islands. Spain will hope to get 1st place in the group, and put progression to bed sooner rather than later. Sweden will pose a new obstacle for Spain, so Enrique will be able to assess how far his team have come in his first 12 months.

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Away Team: Sweden

Sweden managed to exceed expectations at the World Cup last summer, reaching the quarter final stage for only the 2nd time in their history. They lost to England and Germany at the finals, but achieved impressive wins against Mexico, South Korea and Switzerland in a memorable summer. Since those finals, Sweden managed to win their UEFA Nations League group, containing Turkey and Russia, therefore guaranteeing them a play-off for the European Championships if they make a pigs ear out of this qualification. That doesn’t look to be the case though, having picked up 7 points from a possible 9, with them drawing in a pulsating game away at Norway. Sweden have been under par in recent European Championship tournaments, being eliminated in the group stage in the last three. They’ll hope that they can secure qualification for the tournament as soon as possible, and plan a route to the knock-out stages next summer at least.

Head to Head

The two teams have faced each other 12 times in their past, with it being relatively even. Spain have won five times, where Sweden have won on three occasions. Over half of their meetings have been friendlies, but they have also played some high profile games in the past, most recently in 2008 at the European Championships. During that encounter, David Villa scored a last minute goal to win 2-1 against Sweden, which helped Spain on their journey to become European Championships, whilst condemning Sweden to elimination in the group stage. The teams also played in the qualification for that tournament, with each side winning a game apiece. Sweden have only won once in Spain, back in a friendly in 1988.

Predictions and Betting Tips

Spain are strong favourites at 3/10 to get the victory, with Sweden priced at 9/1. For the sides to share the spoils, that is at 4/1. The hosts will be difficult not to back here, so I expect them to get a narrow 1-0 victory at 5/1. I expect Sweden to hold out for a while, before coming unstuck later on in the game. Therefore, a Draw/Spain HT/FT prediction at 5/2 seems more than reasonable. For goal scorers, you’d have to back Alvaro Morata, who scored two goals on Friday, to score first at 11/5. If you fancy Sweden to cause some issues, you can be rewarded greatly if you back them to be drawing at half time (11/8), to win either half (4/1) or even score 2+ goals at 13/2. Finally, for the tipsters, you can back the first goal of the game to come late, from minutes 81 to the end of the game, at a generous 22/1.

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