Germany and Sweden kick off the R16 on Saturday at Lansdowne Stadium, Ottawa. Join us as we preview this highly anticipated clash between these two European powerhouses in the game.
Germany vs. Sweden Head-to-head
This marks the fourth meeting between Germany and Sweden at the world finals. Sweden won the first two encounters 4-0 and 3-2 in 1991 and 1995, respectively. Germany closed the gap on head-to-heads with a 3-2 win in extra time at the 2003 world finals. Since that win, Germany have won the lion's share of the meetings between these two established soccer powerhouses in the women's game. They won eight of the ten meetings spanning various competitions, including four of the last five meetings this side of the decade. Germany beat Sweden 4-0 at the 2012 Women's Algarve Cup, 1-0 at the 2013 UEFA Women's Championship, 2-1 in Friendly action (2014) and 2-1 at the 2015 Women's Algarve Cup.
Sweden's lone win over Germany during this same stretch also came at the invitational women's football tournament (2015 Women's Algarve Cup), a 4-2 win in group play. However, Germany won the more important clash between the pair 2-1 to clinch a third place finish.
World Cup Group Campaigns
Germany clinched top spot in Group B with a 2-1-0 mark and seven points. They went undefeated through three rounds, the only hiccup a 1-1 draw to Norway. They scored the most goals in the tournament (15), largely skewed by their overwhelming performance over the pair of group minnows – the 10-0 decimation of Ivory Coast and a 4-0 win over Thailand. Germany also conceded just one goal through three group matches.
Sweden comes into the knockouts by way of clinching third place in Group D. Consider they survived the so-called group of death, reaching the knockouts is commendable. However, most had the Swedes finishing second in Group D behind the USA and not third, behind USA and Australia. So there's some mixed feelings about the Swedes as they prepare for the knockouts.
A lot is to be desired about the Swedes account in this competition, mainly winning a game. Three straight draws against the field of competition is hardly the sort of form to take into the knockouts, especially against their arch rivals Germany, a side they've struggled to overcome over the last 15 years. Through three group games, they scored four goals and conceded four goals. Arguably, their best performance was holding the group's standard USA to a 1-1 draw.
Germany vs. Sweden Match Betting Preview and Picks:
Predictably, Germany enter the R16 as the favourites to win outright at -250 soccer odds. A market stance underscored by their favourable outlook in the competition proper: they are the team to beat at +225 on the Women's World Cup Futures betting board. Sweden, meanwhile, are the significant underdogs at +700 to mastermind the upset in the R16 against the pre-ordained competition faves. They are also a long shot +4000 soccer pick to win it all, a drop from +1600 in pre-tournament estimation.
Germany are two-time champions in this competition, bidding for a third title at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Canada. The key to a German victory is going to be deploying their lethal attack, which was in full display in games 1 and 3. Of course, both those featured weaker opponents, giving the German front lots of room to play with. Sweden will be a tougher opponent and won't give the German's that much room to play with. They showed they can defend well against the USA, so their fancy their chances to keep it a close match. But the Germans have that extra umph to them in these finals. What's more they do have a tradition of success against their Northern neighbours.
Soccer Betting Verdict
In a perfect world, things go according to plan. What we saw in the group stage has us convinced Germany deserve to win. The Swedes are lucky to be through to the knockouts. That said things don't always go to plan or paper. Sweden have the potential to surprise, make no mistake. In any event, we're going with the tried and tested soccer odds favored Germans to win outright at -250.
Soccer Picks: Germany -250 to win at bet365