World Cup

World Cup 2018 – Team Analysis – Sweden

A new era dawns for Sweden, who will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic at a major tournament for the first time since Euro 2000.

Though Ibrahimovic had hinted that he would end his international retirement to play in Russia, the Swedish FA resisted pressure to recall their talismanic striker, which would have risked irking the players who had performed miracles to qualify for this summer’s finals.

Sweden’s is a workmanlike squad, devoid of any real star names – with the exception, perhaps, of Emil Forsberg – and reliant on a gameplan that makes them difficult to break down.

Progression to the round of 16 would seem a tall order for Sweden given their draw, but Fantasy managers might nevertheless wish to consider some squad-filling budget buys among the Swedish ranks.

Janne Andersson’s side kick off their World Cup campaign in Nizhny Novgorod on Monday 18 June, with a likely must-win encounter against South Korea. Sweden’s fixtures subsequently toughen after this, with Germany next up in Sochi on Saturday 23 June before a final-day meeting with Mexico in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday 27 June.

Road to Qualification

Drawn in a qualification group that also contained France, the Netherlands and Bulgaria, Sweden’s chances of progress seemed slim as they entered the post-Ibrahimovic era.

However, Sweden’s only defeat in their first six matches came in a 2-1 away reverse in France, a loss they avenged with a victory by the same score in the return fixture.

Andersson’s side sat top of UEFA Group A qualification following this success over the French, which followed wins over Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Belarus and a draw with the Dutch.

The hammer blow to Sweden’s automatic qualification chances came in their seventh group fixture, with Bulgaria running out 3-2 winners over the Swedes in Sofia.

Comprehensive victories over Belarus and Luxembourg still left Sweden with an outside chance of top spot going into their final group match, but a 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands proved to be immaterial as France simultaneously ground out a 2-1 win over Belarus.

Sweden scored 26 goals en route to finishing in second place, the most in Group A and indeed more than any side finishing as runners-up in the UEFA qualifying section.

Andersson’s troops conceded nine goals in all, with seven of these strikes coming in away defeats to France, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. The Swedes remained unbeaten at home throughout qualification, meanwhile.

A nervy 180 minutes against Italy in the play-off round was settled by a 61st-minute Jakob Johansson strike in the first leg in Solna, with Gianpiero Ventura’s Italian side unable to break down a stubborn Swedish defence in the return fixture.

Most starts: Robin Olsen, Andreas Granqvist, Emil Forsberg (12), Victor Lindelof, Marcus Berg (11), Ludwig Augustinsson, Mikael Lustig, Ola Toivonen (9), Jimmy Durmaz, Albin Ekdal (7), Sebastian Larsson (5)

Most goals: Marcus Berg (8), Emil Forsberg (4), Andreas Granqvist, Mikael Lustig, Ola Toivonen (3)

Most assists: Ludwig Augustinsson, Ola Toivonen (4), Marcus Berg, Emil Forsberg (3), Mikael Lustig, Emil Krafth (2)

Sweden have contested three “official” friendlies since sealing qualification in Russia, as well as two other encounters with Denmark and Estonia in Abu Dhabi in January.

The Swedes are without a win in their three most recent FIFA-sanctioned matches, with defeats against Chile and Romania preceding a goalless draw with Denmark.

The Key Targets

The stand-out target in attack is Marcus Berg (£6.7m on Fantasy iTeam and £8.0m on McDonald’s FIFA, Sweden’s most expensive player in both games).

Only four other European strikers beat Berg’s total of eight qualifying goals, four of which came from his head – no forward scored more headed goals in UEFA qualification.

Berg has consistently found the net at club level, scoring 65 goals in 99 league appearances for Panathinaikos before a move to the Middle East last summer. In his debut season with Al Ain FC, the champions of the United Arab Emirates, Berg scored on 25 occasions in just 21 appearances.

It should be noted that six of Berg’s eight strikes for Sweden in qualification came against group also-rans Luxembourg and Belarus, while just one of his 18 goals for the national side (against Iran in March 2015) came against opposition that will be participating in this summer’s World Cup.

Berg registered three assists during qualification, though hasn’t delivered an attacking return in two subsequent international friendly appearances.

The bustling Ola Toivonen (£6.2m on Fantasy iTeam | £7.0m on McDonald’s FIFA), who had an unremarkable loan spell at Sunderland in 2015/16, is a cheaper option up front.

Though Toivonen scored fewer goals (three in total) than his strike partner during qualification, the Toulouse forward provided more assists (four) than Berg and also found the back of the net in Sweden’s 2-1 home defeat to Chile in March.

Emil Forsberg (£6.6m on Fantasy iTeam | £7.5m on McDonald’s FIFA) is the closest thing Sweden have to a superstar in their squad. The midfielder, who can either play as a second striker or, as is more likely in Andersson’s preferred 4-4-2 formation, on the left of midfield, scored four goals and supplied three assists during qualification.

Forsberg’s second year in Germany with RB Leipzig wasn’t nearly as productive as his debut campaign in 2016/17, in which he was involved in 30 of his team’s league goals.

Forsberg scored only twice and recorded two assists in 21 Bundesliga appearances this season, scoring just once for club and country in all competitions since the turn of the year.

No Sweden player had more attempts on goal during qualification than Forsberg, however, and his importance to his country’s attacking prospects cannot be understated.

Andreas Granqvist (£5.5m on Fantasy iTeam | £5.0m on McDonald’s FIFA) represents excellent value in defence. The 33-year-old centre-half started all 12 of his country’s qualification matches, keeping clean sheets in seven of those fixtures – including in both legs of the play-off tie with Italy.

As well as being an aerial threat from set-pieces, Granqvist has assumed penalty-taking duties for the Swedes: all three of his qualification goals came from the spot.

The Long Shots

Like Granqvist, Sweden’s full-backs could provide Fantasy returns at both ends of the pitch.

No Swedish player created more goals in qualification (four) than Ludwig Augustinsson (£5.4m on Fantasy iTeam | £5.0m on McDonald’s FIFA), whose excellent delivery from set pieces and open play on the left flank provides huge assist potential.

However, the Werder Bremen defender faces stiff competition from Martin Olsson (£5.6m on Fantasy iTeam | £5.0m on McDonald’s FIFA) for the left-back role and starts are far from guaranteed: Olsson lined up at left-back in Sweden’s most recent friendly against Denmark, though Augustinsson was largely favoured during qualification.

Mikael Lustig (£5.6m on Fantasy iTeam | £5.5m on McDonald’s FIFA) looks a safer bet at right-back. Sweden tend to play with a compact midfield four, with their two full-backs encouraged to bomb forward and deliver crosses into their two menacing forwards.

The Celtic defender provided two assists during qualification, but also offers a goal threat from set pieces with his height: two of his three strikes were headers.

Goalkeeper Robin Olsen (£5.5m on Fantasy iTeam | £5.0m on McDonald’s FIFA) was an ever-present during qualification and looks to have recovered from a shoulder injury that kept him out for three months towards the end of the season.

Seven of Olsen’s 12 starts resulted in clean sheets, with back-to-back shut-outs against Italy proving that the Swedish backline can stand firm against top-class opposition.

Olsen could benefit hugely from McDonald’s FIFA and Fantasy iTeam both rewarding save points: the Swedish goalkeeper made more saves per match than any other shot-stopper who played more than two matches in UEFA qualification.

Further Analysis

Our comprehensive World Cup guide can be found here.

Group A Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay

Group BIran, Morocco, Portugal, Spain

Group CAustralia, Peru, France, Denmark

Group DArgentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

Group EBrazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Serbia

Group FMexico, Germany, Sweden, South Korea

Group GBelgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

Group HSenegal, Japan, Poland, Colombia

Our editor’s Fantasy World Cup tips as told to Proper Sport

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423 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Zlatnight rises
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 8 days ago

    Pick 1

    A. Pogba
    B. Modric
    C. Silva
    D. Iniesta
    E. ozil
    F. Kroos
    G. Erikson
    H. Sterling
    I. Ali

    1. Firmino
        1 month, 8 days ago

        Muller, Coutinho or Isco

        1. Zlatnight rises
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          1 month, 8 days ago

          Iv got them

          1. Firmino
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Eriksen

        2. III
            1 month, 8 days ago

            G

          • Lyonnais
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 8 days ago

            Eriksen

            Modric overpriced, Silva wrongly a striker, Iniesta game time?

          • 420king
              1 month, 8 days ago

              C if you're not playing McD

          • Kun Tozser
              1 month, 8 days ago

              Neymar, Isco or Hazard, Coutinho?

              1. DantheManinaPan
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Deffo A

              2. speedyboyzz
                  1 month, 8 days ago

                  Neymar Isco easily

              3. Lyonnais
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 8 days ago

                Griezmann / Giroud worth getting?

                (C) options for day 3 v Australia.

                Other games on that day are Argentina-Iceland, Croatia-Nigeria and Denmark-Peru where I don't really see a standout captain choice.
                Messi probably but I don't think I have enough funds to get him.

                1. Brosstan
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    I wouldnt put any money on Argentina doing well against Iceland

                    1. Lyonnais
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Me neither. 1-0 maybe.
                      That's why I think a FRA captain option could be great on day 3.

                2. 1630
                    1 month, 8 days ago

                    Current team. 0,5 in the bank. Thoughts? Will get Varela for Godín if he's likely to play.

                    El Kajoui
                    Uzoho

                    Danilo
                    Godín
                    Sidibé
                    Alba
                    Meunier

                    Carrasco
                    Isco
                    Nandez
                    Jámes
                    C. Sánchez

                    Lukaku
                    Cavani
                    Jesus

                    1. Red Dagger ☭✪
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      1 month, 8 days ago

                      Get Godin.

                      1. Red Dagger ☭✪
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 8 days ago

                        Oops sorry you do already.

                    2. 420king
                        1 month, 8 days ago

                        I'd try to upgrade Sanchez

                      • lub of croatia
                          1 month, 8 days ago

                          Looks great.

                          Possibly Alba->Carvajal, upgrade Sanchez, Cavani->Griezmann for captain coverage on day3

                          1. Witty Pun: The Casual
                              1 month, 8 days ago

                              Captain coverage on every day is not essential. After all, in the end you can only take one captain from the gameweek. Cavani is a better option than Griezmann in my opinion

                              1. III
                                  1 month, 8 days ago

                                  considering only their first match would you still pick Cavani over Greizmann?

                                  1. III
                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                      and why ?

                                      1. lub of croatia
                                          1 month, 8 days ago

                                          I would pick player which plays against weaker team from defending perspective. I expected that would be Australia, but they surprisingly won 4-0 last match.
                                          At the end it is a coin toss or pick Cavani as 0.5 cheaper option.

                                      2. Witty Pun: The Casual
                                          1 month, 8 days ago

                                          It would be a tougher decision, but I just don't think it's incredibly likely that France will get more than 2 goals total from the other two games. If wildcarding straight away its a valid option.

                                          1. III
                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                              Yes I'll probably WC after GW 1 and then BB knowing the starter in GW2. Unless I change my mind one more time =)

                                              cheers

                                  2. 420king
                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                      Remember when a russian scored 5 goals in one game?

                                    • SM001
                                        1 month, 8 days ago

                                        Thoughts? Fifa

                                        Cavani . Neymar

                                        Casemiro . Sanchez . Pavon . Mueller

                                        Carvajal . Godin . Kimmich . Sidibi

                                        De Gea

                                        Gallase . Kjaer . C.Sanchez . Embolo

                                      • I Member
                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                        1 month, 8 days ago

                                        Cavani or Werner?

                                        1. PDM (Top 1000) ANY Season L…
                                            1 month, 8 days ago

                                            Cavani he plays first !

                                        2. 420king
                                            1 month, 8 days ago

                                            KSA Peno

                                            1. 420king
                                                1 month, 8 days ago

                                                no goal

                                                1. 420king
                                                    1 month, 8 days ago

                                                    Neuer save

                                                    1. 420king
                                                        1 month, 8 days ago

                                                        and goal on rebound lol

                                                        1. Red Dagger ☭✪
                                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                          1 month, 8 days ago

                                                          Neuer subbed at halftime tho..?

                                                      • SW6
                                                          1 month, 8 days ago

                                                          *Ter Stegen 😉

                                                          1. 420king
                                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                                              oopsie 😛

                                                    2. DrunkPhilosophy
                                                        1 month, 8 days ago

                                                        Well finally fantasy is back.. well sort of!

                                                        I never played any game beside the official premier league game, tried the UCL one but would forget about it after the first week..

                                                        Planning to take this a bit more serious, maybe join one or two cash leagues as well..

                                                        How does this look for a first stab?

                                                        Cavani Jesus Lukaku
                                                        Eriksen Muller
                                                        Godin Kimmich Sidibe Danilo Meunier
                                                        4.5 keeper
                                                        4.5 keeper 5.0mid 5.0mid 5.0mid

                                                        1. Red Dagger ☭✪
                                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                          1 month, 8 days ago

                                                          Not bad. Perhaps a bit heavy up front?

                                                          1. Witty Pun: The Casual
                                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                                              The way this game was designed, you have to play heavy up front

                                                          2. Camzy
                                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                                              Looks decent.

                                                              Would downgrade the bench mids to 4.5ms (they're gonna be 2 point machines anyway) to fund an upgrade from Jesus to Greizmann.

                                                              Consider Lo Celso from Argentina or Carrasco from Belgium as a 3rd midfielder who can actually score some points as backup.

                                                          3. dunas_dog
                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                            1 month, 8 days ago

                                                            Thinking of setting team for round 1 and then WC possibly week 2. Views on this round 1 set up welcome

                                                            Muslera (v Egypt)
                                                            Trippier (v Tunisia) Godin (v Egypt) Danilo (v Switzerland) Mendy (v Australia) Meunier (v Panama)
                                                            Muller (v Mexico) Rodriguez ( v Japan)
                                                            Lukaku (v Panama) Griezman (v Australia) Suarez (v Egypt)

                                                            Uzoho Halfredsson A Ndiaye C Sanchez

                                                            1. Red Dagger ☭✪
                                                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                                              For round one that's an excellent team.

                                                              1. putana
                                                                  1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                  is it though

                                                              2. Rotation
                                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                I'd be tempted by Suarez -> Lewandowski Vs Senegal and pump the 1m into the bench for a nice backup

                                                                1. CityWok
                                                                    1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                    I like this set-up a lot

                                                              3. putana
                                                                  1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                  ughh i have so much money
                                                                  i think i will buy another car.

                                                                  a. mercedes
                                                                  b. ferrari
                                                                  c.bentley

                                                                  1. Pigeon
                                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                    1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                    Fiat Multipla

                                                                  2. Rotation
                                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                    1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                    You should buy membership here first - Best miles to the gallon by far

                                                                    1. Rotation
                                                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                      Even before this is Mark's second account

                                                                  3. Witty Pun: The Casual
                                                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                      Poor effort, you'll have to do better than that

                                                                  4. SW6
                                                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                      lol Saudi should have nicked a draw there.

                                                                    • ⚒Jay⚒
                                                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                      Why is Gundogan getting booed?

                                                                      1. SW6
                                                                          1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                          Because of some social media post where he said Erdogan was "his president"

                                                                          1. ⚒Jay⚒
                                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                            1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                            Thanks. Just read up on it. Make them right. Ozil’s just as bad too.

                                                                        • putana
                                                                            1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                            not german

                                                                        • sirmorbach
                                                                            1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                            What about doubling up on Germany and going Werner-Reus?

                                                                            1. putana
                                                                                1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                reus could snap his leg tying his shoes. not worth the risk

                                                                            2. putana
                                                                                1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                why did neur do the salute when they scored?

                                                                              • I Member
                                                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                A) Cavani, Samedov, Asensio
                                                                                B) De Arrascaeta, James, Paulinho

                                                                              • III
                                                                                  1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                  2nd draft
                                                                                  El Kajoui - Uzoho
                                                                                  Meunier - Danilo - Godin - Granqvist - Varela
                                                                                  JRod - Eriksen - Carrasco - Nandez - Aldawsari (c)
                                                                                  Griezmann - Lukaku - Lewa

                                                                                  the plan is to GW 1 WC
                                                                                  some more comments: Meunier and Granqvist scored 5 and 3 goals in qualifiers, G. is on pen. Godin can score as well on free kick, Danilo and Varela play for solid defense.
                                                                                  JR and Eriksen(11 goals in qualifiers) are the MVP in the midfield, other 3 are enablers mostly but not trash hopefully as bench is important in this game.
                                                                                  Griezmann, Lukaku and Lewa is where my money is invested, all three have good fixtures.
                                                                                  Also I won't hesitate to captain the like of Godin, Meunier and gamble for a goal +CS.
                                                                                  Regards

                                                                                  1. lub of croatia
                                                                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                      Note: Meunier scored 4 goals and 5 assists against Gibraltar
                                                                                      Still, looks essential

                                                                                  2. TAT
                                                                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                      I'm on my first draft in the Fifa game. How does this look?

                                                                                      Allison
                                                                                      Mendy - D. Sanchez - Kimmich
                                                                                      Kouyate - Isco - Rodriguez - Müller
                                                                                      Griezmann - Iwobi - Werner
                                                                                      (Caballero - Kjær - Bednarek - Inui)
                                                                                      (0.0m in the bank)

                                                                                      1. teddy.
                                                                                          1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                          Kouyate is cheap for a reason. No attacking points potential.

                                                                                          Don't know about Bednarek or Inui.

                                                                                          1. TAT
                                                                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                              Yeah, those three are my question marks. Really don't know who's worth getting in that price bracket.

                                                                                              Could probably downgrade Allison to Pickford - and a few other downgrades, but don't know if it's worth it.

                                                                                        • chef580
                                                                                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                          1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                          here is my team in the Fifa game ..what do you think guys?

                                                                                          1. Brosstan
                                                                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                              Best Ive seen so far

                                                                                            • chef580
                                                                                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                              Here is my team for Fifa game .what do you think guys?

                                                                                              Muslera

                                                                                              kimmich miranda meunier

                                                                                              cueva bentancur muller carrasco

                                                                                              hazard suarez werner

                                                                                              uzoho young hakimi oshima

                                                                                          2. Chandler Bing
                                                                                              1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                              I don't see Draxler in any RMTs. Is he not nailed?

                                                                                              1. FFFrøg⭐️
                                                                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                                1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                                8.5m just a bit steep for someone who rarely gets attacking points

                                                                                              2. teddy.
                                                                                                  1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                                  From the FFS preview:

                                                                                                  "Julian Draxler (£8.5m) is an important player having started seven qualifiers and four of the friendlies since a place in Russia was booked. The Paris Saint Germain midfielder scored three times in UEFA Group C and assisted once. What makes him more of a ‘long shot’ than a ‘key target’ is the fact that Draxler hasn’t contributed to a goal since qualifying ended and even then he was substituted off in five matches during that stage of the competition."

                                                                                                  Poor man's Muller.

                                                                                              3. chef580
                                                                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                                1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                                I hit post button before I finished …….what a muppet, but I have a ghost of a defence and attack but nothing in the midfield

                                                                                                1. rainy
                                                                                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                                  • Has Moderation Rights
                                                                                                  1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                                  Try posting team again?

                                                                                                  1. chef580
                                                                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                                    1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                                    I have a few posts up

                                                                                              4. Heavy Data
                                                                                                  1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                                  ok so ive gone for this, any good?

                                                                                                  Alisson
                                                                                                  Marcelo/Alba/Layun
                                                                                                  Sterling/Isco/Coutinho/Rodriguez
                                                                                                  Neymar/Aspas/Messi

                                                                                                • Tikka Mo Firmino
                                                                                                    1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                                    Sun Dreamteam. League with no transfers

                                                                                                    Muslera

                                                                                                    Godin Kimmich Meunier

                                                                                                    Muller Coutinho Hazard Silva

                                                                                                    Greizmann Cavani Lukaku

                                                                                                    G2G? Tempted by Werner instead of Griezmann

                                                                                                  • borat
                                                                                                      1 month, 8 days ago

                                                                                                      Guys what's the ffs league code for McDonald's