Sweden vs France by Isaiah
Sweden really didn't have much luck on the previous draw, as the team got together in a qualifying group with France, but also Netherlands and Bulgaria, being in a really difficult position to earn a direct placement to the World Cup in Russia for 2018.
After five matches played, they have won over Belarus, Bulgaria and Luxembourg, while they drew at home to Netherlands and suffered narrow 2:1 defeat to France. With ten points they are at second position having good chances to earn a play-off spot, however it will be difficult in case they suffer home defeat to France again. In the last competitive game played, they managed to get a convincing victory over Belarus at home 4:0 (with two goals from Forsberg, while Berg and Thelin added one). Few days later at the end of March, they won over Portuguese side on the road with a 3:2 result coming from 2:0 behind and with goals in last thirty-five minutes of the game.
Notable players such as goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson, defenders Oscar Wendt, Erik Johansson, midfielders Pontus Wernbloom, Kim Kalsstrom or striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all retired from international duties last year, while the side won't be counting at defender Niklas Hult (5/0, Panathinaikos), midfiedler Oscar Lewicki (14/0, Malmo) and forwards Isaac Kiese Thelin (12/2, Anderlecht) and Mikael Ishak (4/1, Nurnberg) too.
Even though they are drawn in a bit more difficult group than usually, France shouldn't be having lot of problems to secure the first position and direct placement into the World Cup for the next year. After five rounds played, they lead the table with four victories and just one draw.
They are three points ahead of Sweden, having four more than Bulgaria and six more than the Netherlands. After starting draw on the road to Belarus, the team started slightly improving and recorded four wins, most recent one on the road to Luxembourg with a 3:1 result earlier this year in March. Few days later they have suffered 0:2 defeat to Spain with a rotated squad. French side also had a friendly game last Friday evening at home, welcoming Paraguay and winning over them with impressive 5:0 result (three goals from Giroud, Sissoko and Griezmann added one each).
Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda (24/0, Crystal Palace) isn't part of the team this time, same as defenders Layvin Kurzawa (7/1, PSG), Adil Rami (33/1, Sevilla), Bacary Sagna (65/0, Manchester City), midfielders Yohan Cabaye (48/4, Crystal Palace),Geoffrey Kondgbia (5/0, Inter), forwards Kevin Gameiro (13/3, Atletico Madrid), Nabil Fekir (7/1, Lyon) or experienced Andre-Pierre Gignac (36/7, UANL) and talented Anthony Martial (15/1, Manchester United).
With improved Netherlands in previous matches, Swedish team knows that they need to attack here and can't be satisfied with a point only. French remains more quality and has great potential in attack also being a favorite in this one, but the game can easily go into over, as I believe there's plenty of value with the current odds and chances at least close to 50%.