Euro 2020 is finally here and we football fans across the world couldn’t be more excited! It’s the return of a tournament with some high pulsating, and quality football matches from 24 European nations drawn into 6 groups. One of them is Group E’s high-profile clash between 3-time winners Spain and underdog Sweden. Spain are one of the favourites to lift the trophy this summer while Sweden, who have not made it past the group stage since 2004, have the target of at least breaking that poor streak and qualifying for a knockout this summer.
However, this clash has been hit by COVID-19, with both Spain and Sweden squads having two players each who tested positive for the virus a few days ago. For Spain, it is captain and Barcelona veteran Sergio Busquets and Leeds United defender Diego Llorente, while for Sweden it is Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski and midfielder Mattias Svanberg. That has forced both the squads into quarantine and it is unclear at the moment if both the nations will call up replacements for the positive players.
Spain are clear favourites coming into this tie with the mixture of talent and experience in their squad. However, Sweden are widely considered to be one of the dark horses of the tournament and are capable of causing a major upset. Both these teams are tipped to progress to the knockout stages easily, although they will be wary of being complacent. With the current situation, Sweden will want to take advantage of the Spain captain missing out and take the lead in the group, as the race for the knockout spot commences.
Spain captain Sergio Busquets will miss out, however, defender Diego Llorente returned two negative tests since and has returned to training with the squad. He could feature in the game, although he is expected to start on the bench on Monday. Manager Luis Enrique dropped a bombshell, by excluding veteran defender and former Spain captain Sergio Ramos from the Euro squad, and he will hope that Aymeric Laporte, Pau Torres, and Eric Garcia will be able to fill the void left by the Real Madrid man.
It remains to see which two out of those three center-backs start for Spain against Sweden. The Spain squad have been vaccinated just three days before the Sweden game, and Enrique is afraid that the vaccine symptoms could affect his team selection.
Sweden will be without Kulusevski and Svanberg for the game against Spain. Other than those two, Sweden coach Jaane Andersson should have a fully fit squad available for selection. Andersson, like Enrique, came into the tournament without one of the biggest names in football in the form of 39-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Zlatan has been his country’s talisman for more than a decade, and returned to international football after five years in March of this year. However, his dream return at the Euro cup crashed with an unfortunate knee injury suffered in May. Andersson will be wary of the boots his strikers will have to fill and he will hope that they are up to the task.
SPAIN PREDICTED XI vs SWEDEN: Unai Simon; Cesar Azpilicueta, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba; Thiago, Rodri, Koke; Pablo Sarabia, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres.
SWEDEN PREDICTED XI vs SPAIN: Robin Olsen; Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Marcus Danielsson, Pierre Bengtsson; Sebastian Larsson, Kristoffer Olsen, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg; Marcus Berg, Alexander Isak.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
SPAIN: Ferran Torres
SWEDEN: Alexander Isak
SPAIN vs SWEDEN: 3-2