Sweden v South Korea preview

Sweden will fancy themselves to open their 2018 World Cup campaign with a win when they take on South Korea on Monday.

In a Group F that also includes Germany and Mexico, building momentum will be critical to their hopes of making it through to the last-16 and beyond.

Spirited Swedes keen to build momentum

Sweden have made it through to the last 16 or better in their three most recent World Cups and caused a shock by knocking Italy out in the play-offs. However, they have not won any of their last four, a run that will be a worry as it echoes their pre-Euro 2016 form, where they failed to get out of the groups.

Having finished second in a qualifying group that also involved France and the Netherlands, Janne Andersson seems to have fostered the traditional spirit the Swedes have become famous for.

Berg the boy for the Swedes

With Emil Forsberg taking up the creative mantle from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he will be their main inspiration, but Marcus Berg will also need to shine having netted eight times in qualifying.

Although Berg’s club career may have stagnated with Al Ain in Abu Dhabi, he seems to relish the extra responsibility that comes with playing for the Blagult.

South Korea unlikely to prosper

South Korea have qualified for every World Cup since 1986 but have only made it out of the groups twice. They were also fortunate to make it to Russia, netting just twice in five away games in qualifying.

They have won just one of their last six friendlies and it is no surprise they are just 1.69 to finish bottom of the pool.

Son needs to shine for South Korea

Much will depend on Son Heung-min’s form and he heads to Russia on the back of netting 18 times in all competitions this season.

With Shin Tae Yong expected to set his team up defensively, he will look to exploit the space in behind. However, the key will be providing him with the necessary chances.

Sweden 2.95 to win to zero

Sweden have maintained their levels of consistency, while the South Koreans have dropped back, as shown in qualifying.

Although the clash in Nizhny Novgorod is unlikely to be a classic, the Blugalt are a far superior team and should record a comfortable victory.

A clean sheet is certainly a possibility, especially when you consider Italy failed to net in either of their play-off ties.