Sweden is just one step from World Cup 2014

Austria Sweden WCup SoccerSweden has a three points advantage over Austria ahead of this second to last game in the group stage, but they are not yet sure of finishing second. They have home pitch advantage and a good squad, but they can’t simply wait for the visitors to give up, because they have no intention of doing so. In the final round, they will be playing at home against Germany in a game that can truly go either way, with the visitors being slight favorites to prevail despite the fact that they have already secured qualification.

By contrast, Austria has two player game that is mostly a training as they travel to Faeroe Islands a team that lost all games so far and is unlikely to pose any problems. In the first leg played in Wien, the hosts prevailed by two goals to one and this means that if this match ends in a draw, Austria will advance to the next stage if the two teams finish with the same number of points. In a nutshell, this is a decisive game for Sweden and if they fail to win it is entirely their fault and they will have no excuses if qualification is lost in the final round.

Having said this, Sweden is still the overwhelming favorite to make the playoffs for the World Cup, but they need to play with a sense of urgency. The two players that they need to contain are David Alaba and Marc Janko with both of them scoring in Austria and expected to feature upfront. Another thing that the hosts should focus on is toning down their aggressiveness as they’ve committed an unreasonably high number of tacklings that got their players booked.

http://www.uefa.com/worldcup/season=2014/matches/round=2000294/match=2008599/prematch/preview/index.html has an unbiased preview of this match for those who want to bet on the outcome. Bookies are generally cautious when it comes to decisive games and that’s why most of them offer odds of 1.70 for Sweden to prevail at home, which makes the decision a bit difficult.

A quick glance at the head-to-head record will reveal the fact that both teams won 5/7 games at home and this is a strong argument in favor of backing the hosts. Risk-averse players should stay away from the handicap market, because although the odds for Sweden to win by two goals or more are tempting, this game is likely to be decided by the odd goal.