Sweden vs. Croatia Nations League Betting Predictions and Match Analysis | 11/14/2020

Hello and welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to our in-depth soccer betting picks! Nations League is on display today, a fiery match between Croatia and Sweden. It’s basically the replay of last month’s encounter in Zagreb which ended in favor of Croatia (2:1). Now, we’re looking at the reverse fixture in which Sweden has to win to climb over Croatia in the group standings.

Here’s what group 3 of Nations League A looks like ahead of this match:

Team Goal Diff Pts
Portugal 9:1 10
France 7:3 10
Croatia 6:11 3
Sweden 1:8 0

As you can see, Portugal and France are both eyeing the playoffs with Croatia and Sweden in a battle to remain in Nations League A. Croatia has the upper hand here, having defeated Sweden at home last month. They have to aim for at least a draw in Stockholm tomorrow, otherwise they might drop down to NL B.

It’s going to be a tough encounter, that’s for sure – but that makes it even more appealing to soccer betting enthusiasts. This match has all the makings of a proper soccer spectacle, which means we won’t have an easy job with our Sweden vs. Croatia betting predictions.

Sweden Needs Victory Here

The situation is quite simple for the Swedes. They have to defeat Croatia to stay in the fight for third place in group 3. If they lose or draw against Dalic’s Croatia, they will have no theoretical chances of finishing above the Croats.

Yep, there’s a lot of pressure on Andersson’s team, but the 58.-year-old Swedish expert will fancy his odds against shell-shocked World Cup finalists.

Key Players Sweden Potential Starting Lineup:

  • Olsen; Lindelof, Lustig, Helander, Bengtsson; Olsson, Kulusevski, Ekdal, Claesson; Quaison, Berg

Sweden can count on several returning figures that couldn’t play against Denmark due to COVID-related restrictions. However, all eyes are on Isak and Kulusevski, two aspiring Swedish prodigies yet to make a proper name for themselves.

Berg, Sweden’s most experienced forward, is expected to start too.

We’re going to see if he can build on his twenty-two scored goals for the Swedish national team. Looking at their UEFA Nations League stats, it’s fairly easy to recognize Sweden’s biggest problem – finishing. They’ve scored just one goal in four matches (a consolation goal against Croatia last month), compared to Croatia’s six goals. Their defensive line has been slightly better… but that’s more down to Croatia’s defensive struggles than anything else.

Tactical Approach

Even though their UEFA Nations League stats suggest otherwise, Janne Andersson’s Sweden is actually favoring attack more than defense. Their attacking efforts are direct, but they’re failing to reach simple solutions in the opposition’s final third. Lack of clinical finishing is what bothers Sweden – with all the chances they keep creating, if they can break the goalscoring deadlock, I reckon Croatia’s shaky defense could be in a world of trouble.

Croatians are Facing Big Problems

The Croatian national football team has come a long way since their World Cup grand finals match against France… and not in a good way, mind you. They’ve played against France two times since then and lost on both occasions.

Truth be told, Croatians played pretty well… even though the results wouldn’t suggest so at first glance.

All in all, though, Croatians are facing big problems. Domagoj Vida tested positive for coronavirus in the middle of last week’s match against Turkey. Following that test, Marcelo Brozovic also tested positive, meaning he won’t be able to play against Sweden.

Key Players Croatia Potential Starting Lineup:

  • Kalinic; Uremovic, Pongracic, Lovren, Barisic; Modric, Badelj; Pasalic, Perisic, Vlasic; Budimir

Do you recognize any of these names? Sure, Lovren, Modric and Perisic… but do you recognize anyone else? Yep – I didn’t think so. This is the new Croatian teams – this is the Croatian youth! These are the players Zlatko Dalic is counting on for his generational switch.

So, who are the key players in this new Croatian team?

Obviously, Modric is still the maestro; he’s still the player everyone expects to lead the youngsters forward. Brozovic and Lovren are there to form the defensive block and connect it to the midfield. Kovacic is supposedly the new Modric… and there are a few more youngsters that stand out.

Tactical Approach

How will Dalic deploy his team against Sweden? Well, the real pressure is on Andersson’s team – Croatia just has to take a point and that’s it. Obviously, knowing the Croats’ aggressive soccer philosophy, we can’t expect them to park the bus right from the kickoff.

They’ll probably come out in a balanced 4-2-3-1 and then perhaps close things down in the second half. That’s how I’d set things up if I were in Dalic’s place – that you can bet on!

Sweden vs. Croatia Betting Predictions

This is going to be another tight encounter, just like the one in Zagreb last month. Croatia is not nearly as strong as it was two years ago in Russia. Without Mandzukic, without Rakitic, and with aging Modric, it’s just not the same team. Sure, some of their youngsters are showing promising potential, but they’re far from their glory days.

As for Sweden, Janne Andersson is finishing his Swedish soccer puzzle.

Everyone expects Dejan Kulusevsi and Alexander Isak to finally leave a proper mark for their national team, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them steps up for the occasion against Croatia. It would be a fine way to announce better things to come for the Swedish national team.

Sweden vs. Croatia Betting Predictions
Sweden to Win!

Yep, we’re going with the hosts here. Even though home turf advantage isn’t as important nowadays as it was last season, I still reckon the Swedes are in a far better position than Croatia. In fact, I believe +170 on Sweden to win is a steal here!

And I’m not just saying that because of the fact some Croatian players tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to participate, but because I trust in the Swedes’ ability to control the play against a pretty shaken Croatian squad.

Dalić won’t be able to deploy some of his top players – as if the generational switch wasn’t enough of a burden for the World Cup 2020 finalists – which should result in Sweden’s victory. Remember how they played against Turkey last week; I expect similar gameplay against Sweden… but with a different end result.

Soccer Betting Tips

Let’s take a break from soccer betting picks and focus on the art of online soccer betting in general. This section is ideal for people who are just starting out. If you’re one of them, you’re obviously in the right place.

Do Your Research

You can’t expect to consistently win wagers if you don’t put in enough hours into research.

But I know everything about soccer – I follow soccer news, I watch a ton of games, I even play FIFA. Trust me, I know everything about soccer!

All those things make for good base-level knowledge, but you’ll have to dig a lot deeper if you want to be a successful soccer betting enthusiast. Invest time in learning about the managers, their styles of play; do research on individual players set to compete in a match… you can even go the extra length of analyzing previous h2h matches and matches played between teams deploying similar tactics.

Manage Your Betting Bankroll

Another very important factor a lot of new bettors take for granted – bankroll management. Look at the grand scheme of things; aim at being profitable in the long run.

Pro Tip:
Set aside an amount of money you’re comfortable with and invest it wisely. If you end up in a tough losing streak, don’t chase your losses. Clear your head, take a break and come back next month with more experience and research!
Chad Romero / Author

Chad has proficient knowledge on several different sports. But he's particularly passionate about "The Beautiful Game." What's considered football to some, and soccer to others, is one of Chad's favorite subjects to cover. Check out his soccer betting tips, recommended bets, predictions, and picks. In his spare time, Chad enjoys playing pool, camping, and cooking.