24 March 2019
Sweden welcome Romania to the Friends Arena in Stockholm for the opening clash of Group F of the European Championship qualifiers.
The hosts have not enjoyed the best of times after exiting the World Cup in the round of 16 considering they’ve clinched just two wins in eight games since returning from Russia (W2, D3, L3). However, precisely those two victories were enough for Sweden to finish top of Group B/2 of the UEFA Nations League (UNL). The Blue-Yellows have started their UNL journey off on the wrong foot, failing to pick up all three points in the opening two fixtures prior to putting together a pair of triumphs over Turkey and Russia. Still, Janne Andersson’s men enter this game carrying a two-game winless run on their backs (D1, L1) as they look to stretch a positive record against Romania to six wins (W5, D2, L3). A potential worry for Andersson could be that his players have failed to keep a clean sheet in four of their last five home outings.
On the other hand, Romania’s six-game UNL unbeaten run (W3, D3) was insufficient for them to wrap up the top spot of Group C/4 as they’ve finished as runners-up behind Serbia. Apart from the impressive UNL campaign, the visitors boast an almost perfect record in 2018 (W7, D3) as they look to maintain the same form in their first game in 2019. The Tricolours go into this meeting off the back of back-to-back triumphs over Lithuania and Montenegro, in which they’ve scored four goals while allowing zero in the process. Still, Cosmin Contra has to be worried about the fact his players have failed to preserve a clean slate on seven of eight of their previous road trips, conceding 2+ match goals only twice though.
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