South Africa vs Sweden Odds, Pick | Women’s World Cup Preview
Ina Fassbender/Getty. Pictured: Zecira Musovic.
Sweden vs South Africa Odds
|South Africa Odds||+2800|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-211 / +160)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(+240 / -334)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
Sweden and South Africa kick off their tournaments in Group G with the favored side especially needing three points against the weakest team in this group.
After making it to the semifinals of the Euros and winning the Algarve Cup over Portugal and Italy, Sweden are one of the best attacking sides in this World Cup field. They have actually underperformed their xG over the past year in the lead up to this World Cup.
South Africa come into the tournament as the AFCON champions in 2022, beating three other World Cup teams in Nigeria, Zambia and Morocco on their path to the championship. Although they are the champions of Africa, they really lack to the talent to compete in this group, which is reflected in the odds for their first match against Sweden.
Sweden Will Play Their Style of Football
Sweden are a very aggressive team in their build up. They look to play the ball between the lines as quick as possible to catch the opposing defense out of position. Sweden like to play overloads on one side of the pitch and then quickly switch the play top free up a player on the opposite side.
This squad has so much talent in attack. Sweden's main striker will be Stina Blackstenius, who scored 13 goals between the WSL and Champions League for Arsenal this season, and Fridolina Rolfö, who was a 0.99 xG + xA wingback for Barcelona this season. She will play a more advanced role for the Swedish National Team as she is a very versatile player. Those two will put fear into any backline and with solid players around them, Sweden will be an offensive force in this group.
Out of possession, Sweden will drop into a 4-4-2 and will press high to try to win the ball back very aggressively. They have one of the best center backs in the WSL in Magdalena Eriksson, who is the main defender for Chelsea, along with Amanda Ilestedt, who plays for Arsenal. With their ability to stop transition opportunities, it allows Sweden to be more aggressive in their pressing.
South Africa Enter Tournament With Major Concerns
South Africa have a style that sets up well for this group. They play out of a 4-4-2 with a very cautious approach to make sure they are not losing the ball and giving the opposition easy transition opportunities. They like to play the ball out wide and create chances via crosses, although they have a very low xG per 90 comparatively to rest of the World Cup field.
Out of possession, they are a very conservative team as well. They do not like to come out and press. South Africa have a lot of ball winners in their side, which is why they went so deep in the Africa Cup of Nations, but in some of their results in friendlies against better teams they’ve really struggled to defend.
This past fall they played two matches against Brazil and got beat a combined 9-0. They also lost 1-0 to Zambia and lost 4-1 to Australia. Then this summer they got dismantled 5-0 by Botswana in a friendly, so there isn’t much confidence heading into this World Cup, especially in a difficult group.
Sweden vs South Africa Pick
Sweden are one of the more underrated teams in the World Cup field. They possess the talent to compete with some of the top teams. They have also tested themselves throughout friendlies in the lead up to this World Cup with the weakest team they've played over the last year being China.
South Africa may be the African champions, but they really lack the talent to compete with Sweden. They play a style where they are okay not having the ball and Sweden have been on a poor finishing run in front of net.
So, I like the value on the under.
The Pick: Under 3 (+110 via bet365)