Sweden’s Group Of Death Awaits In France Next Year

Swedish football

Sweden’s Group of Death
• Republic of Ireland 156.00
• Sweden 101.00
• Italy 22.00
• Belgium 13.00

You have to feel a little sorry for Sweden. Their fight to stay in the Euro 2016 tournament took them all the way up to a do-or-die play-off with neighbors Denmark, which they won through but the draw for the finals has been a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire for the Nordic nation who now face a very tough set of fixture in France next summer, yes that’s right, it’s Sweden’s group of death, but can they defy the odds to go forward?

are not bad at football, indeed some of their players, (yes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, I do mean you) are exceedingly good, but their international form has never quite lived up to the sum of its parts and they’ve only qualified at all for the finals by the skin of their teeth, or, more precisely, by the skin of Denmark‘s teeth, and head coach Erik Hamren knows that life is about to get even more difficult as they head to France for the finals.

Sweden’s group of death was the highlight of the draw. A room full of coaches and managers watched eagerly as names and pools and ranks all blurred in an interestingly choreographed event that eventually sorted out who’d be playing who in the group stage of the finals next year. You could tell by their faces who’d got the easy draws and who hadn’t, and the Swedes really hadn’t. It is said that at this level there are no easy games, but Sweden just drew some really difficult ones.

and Belgium will be favorites to go through from Sweden’s group of death. The four team group E made up of those two, Sweden (of course) and the Republic of Ireland whose Martin O’Neill & Roy Keane looked like they’d had a messy digestive accident in their pants. Whilst other managers and coaches smiled, Roy Hodgson notable amongst them, Erik Hamren knew going through was a long shot now and that those who like to bet on sports in Sweden might have to think twice about this one.

Euro 2016 Draw Deals Sweden A Doozy


An insulting metaphor in Sweden? (Photo: Salon)

Sweden’s group of death might center around the Italians and Belgians, but Sweden is a team built around just one man – Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Described by Hamren as being “the only world class player we have” the team hangs on him and without him is often decried for lacking energy or flare, indeed one Swedish tabloid described them (sans Ibrahimovic) “as interesting as an early morning trip to IKEA”, which is probably more insulting in Swedish, at least you hope so.

If comparing the only-just succeeding national football team to a rather dull time shopping in a flat-pack furniture store is the best Swedish tabloids can do I think they probably need as much help as Zlatan and his gang will in Sweden’s group of death next summer. Perhaps they could take a look at the vitriolic and strident nature of British tabloids when the national side doesn’t fare well, it makes a comparison with IKEA shopping look like kiss on both cheeks, a bunch of flowers and a box of chocs.

Likewise the Italian press is not especially known for its kindness about the national side in times of poor performance. If England expects (thank you, Nelson) then the Italians demand and that shows in the drive and determination of their players, and the facial expressions of Antonio Conte who took over after they made a horlicks of the group stages of the 2014 World Cup under Cesare Prandelli. They won their qualifying group and will gambling news of their progress beyond the group stage is guaranteed.

Sweden’s Group Of Death In Euro 2016


Sweden should watch out for Belgium (Photo: ESPN)

Belgium, meanwhile, are ranked by FIFA to be the best side in the world, (although these days that instinctively merely leaves one wondering how much they paid for the honor) and thus are the team to watch in Sweden’s group of death, however they do tend to rely very heavily on Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, and haven’t reached a finals since 2002. They qualified top of their group like Italy did, unlike the Republic of Ireland who arrived via the play-offs too.

So Sweden’s group of death consists of two qualifying group winners and the Irish, who, lets face it, have a bit of a history of good fortune, and with progress into the last 16 might be beyond Sweden, their realistic goal could be coming third ahead of Jon Walters and the rest of Martin O’Neill‘s lads, the reverse of which will almost certainly cross Roy Keane‘s mind once or twice in the next six months or so. Which of them will make it? Well the bookies can probably tell you.

June 13th next year and the two underdogs meet in the first of the group E games, and to look at the odds at ComeOn! Sportsbook, it’s quite evenly matched with the Irish garnering 2.95 and the Swedes an only slightly better 2.45 and a draw is getting 3.00 which could speak volumes about where those taking advantage of Swedish gambling laws should place their cash on that game, especially if the 101.00 that Sweden are getting to take the trophy is a bit of a long shot.

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