- It’s a World Cup winner-takes-all matchup between Poland vs Sweden on Tuesday, March 29th
- Hosts received a bye to the final after Russia was withdrawn, while Sweden edged Czech Republic in extra time
- Read on for betting odds, a full preview and best bets for this huge UEFA World Cup qualifying match
One of the world’s legendary strikers will miss out on the World Cup after this contest between Poland vs Sweden on Tuesday, March 29th in Chorzow. Either Poland captain Robert Lewandowski or Swedish talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be in Qatar as the two meet on the field for what could be the last time, with one of the last few European World Cup berths at stake.
After what happened to Italy in the semifinal round of these playoffs, it’s worth remembering that anything can ultimately happen on the pitch in soccer. But Poland, which drew Scotland in a friendly in lieu of their canceled game against Russia, is marginally favored to go through here.
Poland vs Sweden Odds
|Poland vs Sweden||POL -0.5 (+145) | SWE +0.5 (-175)||POL +145 | SWE +230 | DRAW +205||Ov 1.5 (-200) | Un 1.5 (+163)|
Odds as of March 28th at Barstool Sportsbook
Given how tight the semifinal round of games was, with one game going to extra time and another being settled in the final minutes, it’s hardly surprising that there’s no clear winner here. However, goals are expected, with Over 1.5 being favored.
Neither of these teams are among the top-20 favorites in the World Cup odds later this year, but Poland at least has one of the top two players in the world, with Lewandowski finishing second to Lionel Messi in last year’s voting for the Ballon d’Or.
Robert Lewandowski and Poland will have to get through Sweden, the side that prevented them from making the Euro 2020 knockout stages, in order to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
Despite the 3-2 loss, Lewandowski scored twice. He’ll need some help from his team this time around. pic.twitter.com/Ll0xRa8b8s
— Jilshie (@LegendaryLewy) March 24, 2022
The Bayern Munich striker broke Gerd Muller’s long-standing club record of 40 league goals last season, finishing with 41 in the campaign, but has only played in three World Cup finals games, without scoring in any. He’ll be looking to put that right later this year, but first, he has to get Poland to the big dance in Qatar.
Robert Lewandowski is still struggling with knee pain and will probably train individually today. Nevertheless, Poland's medical staff is convinced that Lewandowski will be able to play against Sweden on Tuesday and that the problem is not serious enough to worry [@s_staszewski] pic.twitter.com/ZCxa82kgWn
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) March 26, 2022
Lewandowski has successfully managed to carry over his irrepressible club form to the international stage, scoring 74 goals in 128 national-team appearances. He’s also been at his most deadly in World Cup qualifiers, finding the net 29 times in 36 matches, seven of which have come on the road to Qatar.
Poland does have a number of factors on its side. First off, Poland has lost just one game in its past eight, and only once since 2009 has the team failed to score in a World Cup qualification match at home.
And while Poland did play last week, it was only a friendly game, while Sweden was forced into extra time to see off a resilient Czech Republic side. But it came at a cost, however, with Arkadiusz Milik and Bartosz Salamon getting injured, while midfielder Mateusz Klich will be suspended for this game.
Poland vs Sweden Stats
|6-2-2||2022 World Cup Qualifying Stats||6-3-0|
Swedes Shoot for Seven Straight
However, extra time or not, Janne Anderson’s side does have the mental armor of knowing that it has beaten Poland in six consecutive matches, with the most recent occurring in the round-robin stage at last summer’s European Championship. In fact, Poland has only won eight of the 27 fixtures between the two countries, with the last coming in a 1991 friendly. You have to go all the way back to the 1974 World Cup for the last time Poland won a competitive game in the head-to-head series.
However, Sweden doesn’t have it all its own way though, having lost three straight World Cup qualifiers away from home, and winning just one match in their last nine on the road.
The Return of Zlatan
While Sweden only barely squeaked by the Czechs, it did so without the confidence-boosting presence of Ibrahimovic, who was suspended for that game.
Safely back in the fold, the AC Milan striker will be hoping to get back to a World Cup for the first time since 2006, having not been selected for 2018, and his international strike rate of 62 goals in 120 appearances will certainly be welcomed.
🎙️ Janne Andersson: "It is difficult to say how many minutes #Ibrahimovic has in his legs. What I can say is that he will not start. He will be able to enter the field, we will see how many minutes." pic.twitter.com/ol0w97fp56
— Milan Posts (@MilanPosts) March 28, 2022
However, Sweden will have to replace defender Martin Olsson, with the left back getting injured against the Czechs.
This one looks top be another close contest in there qualifying playoffs and may need extra-time to decide a winner.
Best bet: Draw (after 90 minutes) +205