No Ibrahimovic, no problem? Sweden sure thinks so! A team built around an enigmatic midfielder and an extremely young and solid back line of defenders, Sweden will not be an easy match up for their group mates. However, without their egotistical lion up from in Zlatan Ibrahimovic does Sweden really have any chance of winning? If so the goals will need to be a team effort.
– South Korea
Players to watch for Sweden:
Emil Forsberg – The Bundesliga star is set to increase his transfer price with an impressive performance in Russia. After links to Manchester United last summer Forsberg had a difficult, injury riddled, and lackluster 2017/18 season, only scoring 2 goals and adding 2 more assists for RB Leipzig. The attacking player could feature as striker should he be needed, but will likely be the outlet in the midfield for Sweden’s offence.
Pontus Jansson – The central defender for Leeds United in the English Championship will be a prominent member of the stalwart back line for Sweden. The towering 6’4″ defender is a crucial in defensive organization and will need to use his size to chip in offensively should he get the chance. He nabbed 3 goals this season for Leeds and without Zlatan’s size he could be key on corner kicks and set pieces.
Victor Lindelof – Like Jansson, Lindelof at center back will be instrumental in any success Sweden will have at the World Cup. He has come under scrutiny after a pricey £30.7m transfer from Benfica to Manchester United. Despite Lindelof only being 23 he needs a good showing in Russia to justify the price paid for him and to show the world he can be a top defender internationally and for his club.
Sweden is in tough for a long tournament in Russia. South Korea and Mexico are more similar to Sweden but the Mexican side should cruise out of the group stage alongside tournament favorites Germany. Not taking Ibrahimovic to the World Cup is a tactical move by manager Janne Andersson, on one hand you lose the immense talent that he brings. However, without him you have a more balanced team that doesn’t feature his massive ego.