Sweden started 2021 in excellent fashion, winning nine of their opening 11 games, including two at Euro 2020 ahead of their last 16 exit and a 2-1 win over Spain in World Cup qualifying. That run looked to have Sweden set for an automatic spot in Qatar but Sweden suffered a poor run of form that has forced them to settle for the play-offs.
First, Sweden were beaten 2-1 by Greece, their first 90-minute victory of the year. But the real killer blow game in November in their final two games of World Cup qualifying. A shock defeat to Georgia saw Sweden lose top spot and control of Group B meaning they needed to beat Spain in their final match to go through – rather than needing just a draw. But Spain got their revenge for the earlier defeat with a 1-0 victory courtesy of a late Alvaro Morata goal.
Qualifying went even worse for Czech Republic, who were unable to build on their Euro 2020 run to the quarter-finals which included a 2-0 win over Netherlands. Czech Republic were never going to have an easy time in World Cup qualifying, placed in a tough Group E alongside Belgium and Wales, three teams who all would have fancied themselves of going through.
Four wins, two draws and two defeats from their eight games wasn’t enough to secure a second-placed finish for Czech Republic; instead they relied on their Uefa Nations League group win to keep their World Cup hopes alive, as the second-best Nations League group winner not to reach at least the play-offs. The winner of this tie will face Poland in the Path B final next week.
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Sweden vs Czech Republic: Match Stats
This game will take place at Sweden’s home stadium, the Friends Arena in Solna, Stockholm and the hosts have an excellent record there. Sweden have won their last nine matches in Solna, scoring 18 goals and conceding just four since a 2-0 defeat to Sweden in September 2020. At the same time, Czech Republic are without star striker Patrik Schick, with Michael Krmencik the top scorer in their current squad with just nine goals.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may also be out for Sweden through suspension but in Alexander Isak they have a man in form. The Real Sociedad forward has scored three goals in his past six appearances for Sweden.
29 March 2016 – Sweden 1-1 Czech Republic – International Friendly
17 August 2005 – Sweden 2-1 Czech Republic – International Friendly
20 November 2002 – Czech Republic 3-3 Sweden – International Friendly
This will be just the fourth time these two sides have met and the first in competitive football. The three previous meetings have all been friendlies and it’s been hard to separate them, with Sweden managing one win alongside two draws.