World Cup 2018 Previews June 18th: Sweden v South Korea, Belgium v Panama, Tunisia v England

The World Cup football continues today after some already surprising results in Russia, such as with Brazil and Germany unable to win in their opening games yesterday. So, can Sweden v South Korea, Belgium v Panama and Tunisia v England provide further shock results? Today we will find out, starting off with the Group F match at 13:00 (GMT) or 14:00pm (CEST).

Whoever wins between Sweden v South Korea, it will be hugely vital 3 points for either team, after Germany lost to Mexico in the first Group F match, blowing the group wide open, albeit unexpectedly. Sweden decided against bringing world renowned striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the World Cup, which may be seen as a big mistake, and the Swedes will then most likely start with Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen in attack. Sweden are expected to field a 4-4-2 formation, with RB Liepzig’s creative wingman, Emil Forsberg, now indirectly been given lots of responsibility on his shoulders, as he’s seen as one of the only creative sparks in an otherwise predictable side.

Sweden’s number 10, Emil Forsberg. Credit: The United Stand

South Korea enter the tournament with their head coach, earlier admitting that his players often switched shirt numbers in training sessions, in order to confuse any Swedish spies that had been monitoring their training sessions for intelligence ahead of this match. Striker Son Heung-Min is South Korea’s star player that plies his trade for Tottenham in the Premier League, and is a verifiable danger man to the Swedish defence.

South Korea’s number 7, Son Heung-Min. Credit: Onefootball

Both teams have a full squad available and we’re definitely expecting a hardly fought match, with the physical aspect of Sweden’s team, against the pace of South Korea, setting up a very interesting match, that’s almost too close to call. Both teams will be desperate to win, to be in with a chance of qualifying, with both Germany and Mexico awaiting as their new opponents.

Match Prediction: Sweden v South Korea 1-0 or Under 2.5 goals

In Group G, it’s Belgium v Panama, with Belgium once again touted as being amongst the favourites to go far in the tournament, which is down to their extremely strong squad of players, across all positions. Captain Vincent Kompany is injured along with Thomas Vermaelen, with Derrick Boyata set to deputize in centre defence alongside Alderweireld and Vertonghen. Kevin De Bruyne will play alongside Axel Witsel in central midfield, Eden Hazard ahead them on the right wing, and Lukaku as their centre forward, flanked by Dries Mertens. A truly dangerous team, with Panama looking like they’ll be thoroughly over powered in every position. The only question is by how many goals will they really lose by?

Belgium’s number 10, Eden Hazard. Credit: Complete Sports Nigeria

Panama enter their first ever World Cup, with them narrowly qualifying being seen as a total miracle even to begin with… Their current FIFA World Ranking is at position 55.

Talisman and overnight superhero, defender Roman Torres, who scored the vital goal to send Panama to the World Cup, picked up a slight injury before this match, but is reportedly expected to play through the pain for his nation. Panama will likely line-up with a 5-4-1 defensive formation in order to stop the attacking threat of Belgium.

Centre back Roman Torres scored the vital goal to send Panama to the World Cup. Credit: Candidpost

Match Prediction: Over 3.5 goals or Belgium Result Both Teams to Score: No

The final match of the day is Tunisia v England, with Gareth Southgate’s team looking to make a statement against the North African side, that are by no means considered to be a tough opposition. However, Tunisia have vastly improved over previous years, and are by no means a pushover. But, Gareth Southgate couldn’t have asked for an easier group, and the question will remain as to what formation he will choose. Will it be a 5-3-2 or a 3-4-1-2, with five at the back or three at the back, with wide wing backs on the flanks? We suspect the latter as Tunisia are not a big attacking threat when compared to the English defence. The question remains as to who will partner Harry Kane behind in the number ten role, with the choice between Raheem Sterling or Marcus Rashford available. Raheem Sterling will probably be preferred, and Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli will be selected to fulfil the attacking midfield positions.

England’s captain, Harry Kane. Credit: The Independent

Tunisia’s star player is Wahbi Kazri, who plays for Rennes, but he may not start in the attacking midfield role, since Saif-Eddine Khaoui was preferred in both of Tunisia’s warm up matches. England might be smart to remember that Tunisia only lost 1-0 to Spain 9 days ago, which if that’s anything to go by, then Tunisia may be a better team than originally thought.

Will Wahbi Kazri start for Tunisia against England? Credit: DailyMail

However, we expect England to grab a narrow win, but hopefully there will be more goals than just one or two. Can England secure the three points, convincingly? But we can envisage England conceding at least one goal, in order to shock them a little bit.

Match Prediction: Tunisia v England 1-2 or England Result Both teams to Score: Yes

 

Story by The Narrator 

Featured Photo Credit: Goal.com

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