Seattle Sounders FC’s star Gustav Svensson hasn’t started for Sweden’s national team. So what’s his chance on Monday vs. South Korea in the FIFA World Cup?
When he starts with Seattle Sounders, Gustav Svensson moves skillfully from defender to defensive midfielder. While not a starter for Sweden, he subbed in and proved indispensable in their 0-0 second-leg draw with Italy that qualified them for Monday’s FIFA World Cup game.
After Svensson subbed in the 19th minute for the injured Jakob Johansson, Italy got knocked out of the tournament for the first time in 60 years.
The Gustav Svensson difference in games comes from his extraordinary tackling talent. That’s his trademark as defensive midfielder. Scouts follow that ability with strong performance blocking and ball interception.
Sweden head coach Janne Andersson will call on Svensson when the tournament game stays close and Sweden requires an edge to advance. That should happen more than once if Sweden stays alive in this FIFA World Cup.
Yes, there’s a chance
Previews favor Spain to win it all in this year’s World Cup. And they uniformly disregard Sweden in general and Gustav Svensson as a starter. They don’t run odds, but why don’t we set odds for both events at one in a million?
In that memorable scene from Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carrey’s Lloyd Christmas character erupts when Mary Swanson gives those one-in-a-million odds that they’ll ever become a romantic match.
South Korea wants to narrow the chance
South Korea won’t willingly give Sweden that chance – let alone stand flat-footed for any difference Gustav Svensson might provide.
The South Korea side, until recent matches, favored a 4-2-3-1 formation. They had a player revelation that’s spurred their transition to two-striker formations.
That’s because they found a second effective striker to pair with Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min. That’s Kim Shin-Wook, from K League team, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. The 6-foot-6 forward carries the nickname Chinook from a six-goal performance in a tournament years ago.
Either team advancing in World Cup Group F has to face defending champion Germany and Mexico, both strong and proven competitors.
Yet, with South Korea still in transition through the friendlies and Sweden set regarding formation, starters and subs – this gives the Swedish side an edge in Monday’s match.
The edge gets sharper with Gustav Svensson on the substitute list, chomping at the bit.
Score Prediction: SWEDEN 2 SOUTH KOREA 1
Neither South Korea nor Sweden have a definite edge with powerful Mexico and Germany in Group F. However, group second place in this World Cup tournament gets plenty of leverage.
So Sweden asks, you’re telling me there’s a chance? The answer: Yes.