Portugal and Sweden will square off on Tuesday in the Under-21 European Championship Final in Prague. Both teams won their semifinals pretty handedly, and after drawing 1-1 in the group game, they meet up again in the Final.
Will Sweden be able to overcome another huge obstacle and win its first U-21 European Championship?
Last time Sweden was in a U-21 European Championship Final was back in 1992, when they lost against Italy 2-1. That team had players like Hakan Mild, Joachim Bjorklund and Niclas Alexandersson just to name a few that went on and played in Premier League and La Liga. Today’s team has some potential future stars that are already plying their trade in big clubs in Europe.
John Guidetti is getting a lot of the headlines for the Swedish team. The outspoken striker is always good for a soundbite and he has scored a couple of crucial goals for Sweden in the tournament. Guidetti is on an expiring contract with Manchester City, and will surely have many suitors after his performances in the Czech Republic for Sweden.
Alexander Milosevic is another player that most likely has caught the eyes of all the scouts, and he might be moving on to bigger and better things despite recently moving to Turkey.
Simon Tibbling is another one of the players that has had a very good tournament for the Swedes, and FC Groningen will surely get more than a couple of calls for their technically gifted winger. Tibbling scored the equalizing goal for the Swedes in the game against Portugal and scored again in the semifinal against Denmark.
If the Swedes are going to win over a very talented Portugal side, then they need to show the same level of tenacity as they have in the previous games, along with being clinical in front of net when given the opportunity to score. Portugal is very good at keeping the ball, so the Swedes must be ready to chase a lot, and try to hit Portugal on the counter attack.
Sweden and Portugal were not considered to be favorites in Group B at the start of the tournament. England and Italy were the teams that most people had going through. But after Sweden’s 2-1 win over Italy and Portugal’s 1-0 win over England, the tunes started to change.
Portugal showed a great passing game against England, and although they only got a draw against Italy and Sweden, they were the better side in both those games. Portugal won the group and Sweden came second, knocking out the English and the Italians.
In the semifinal against Germany, the Portuguese played pretty much a perfect game. They destroyed Germany 5-0 and were dominant in all areas of the game. They way they found each other on the field was amazing and Bernardo Silva was outstanding. The AS Monaco player is getting his big breakthrough and will surely become a hot commodity on the transfer market this summer.
Goalkeeper Jose Sa has been the best goalie of the tournament, and with his command over his area, it has a calming effect on Portugal’s defensive line. They know that they have a very good goalkeeper in net and that means a lot for the confidence of a defender.
The Portuguese will have to try and score on Sweden early and then just keep the foot on the gas, because this Swedish side has a remarkable never-say-die attitude and they will fight until the final whistle.
The Swedes won 4-1 over Denmark in their semifinal and showed that they can be extremely effective on the counter attack. Guidetti and Isaac Kiese Thelin is a really strong forward pairing that can cause any defense a lot of trouble.
It was a pretty even affair when they met in the group stage, although Portugal had some more quality scoring chances, but this time it won’t end in a draw. This time we will crown a winner.