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Both teams to score – Yes (-105) at DraftKings
Back both teams to score in the DraftKings sportsbook. Portugal have exceeded expectations in an attacking sense and they can find the back of the net here too.
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With four points to their name going into matchday three, Sweden do not need to win this match in order to advance to the quarter-finals.
A point would be enough to secure their place in the knockout phase of the Women’s Euro 2022, since Switzerland cannot overtake them even if they beat the Netherlands due to an inferior head-to-head record. But regardless of the arithmetic, there is no doubt that Sweden will go all-out for victory at the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday.
Group C will in effect conclude with two straight shoot-outs: the winners of Switzerland vs the Netherlands and Sweden vs Portugal will go through to the quarter-finals, with the draw favoring the Dutch and the Swedes.
But it would be a risk for either of those teams to actually play for a tie. One slip-up in that scenario could prove fatal. Moreover, Sweden will want to build up some momentum ahead of the knockout rounds. No one wants to limp over the finish line in an unconvincing fashion.
Sweden began the tournament in the second group of favorites, behind Spain, England, France and the Netherlands. Perhaps that was unfair. This is a team on the up. Sweden finished third at the World Cup three years ago and were runners-up at the 2020 Olympics, held in Japan last year. Their squad is well balanced from back to front, which is not necessarily true of other teams at this Euros.
Sweden have not yet shown their best form this summer, but they are growing into the tournament. Having guided this side to back-to-back semi-finals at their last two appearances, Peter Gerhardsson will recognize the importance of peaking at the right time. While others have racked up huge scorelines, Sweden are ticking along under the radar – and that is exactly how they like it.
Before a ball had been kicked in England this summer, Portugal would surely have settled for a scenario in which their quarter-final hopes were still alive on matchday three of the group stage. Remember, this is a team that did not actually qualify for the European Women’s Championship. Portugal finished second in their group and lost to Russia in the play-offs, only to be handed a place in the tournament when the latter country was expelled.
Given how they got here, Portugal were tipped to struggle. Yet while one point from a possible six is nothing to write home about, they are still alive in this competition. Portugal showed no shortage of character in their opening match, when they conceded twice to Switzerland in the opening five minutes but fought back to secure a 2-2 draw. They also found the back of the net two times against the Netherlands in a narrow 3-2 defeat.
It is something of a surprise that Portugal have been so effective in attack. That was their weak point in qualifying, when they scored just eight times in eight group games and then drew a blank in both legs of the play-off against Russia.
If you exclude their meetings with Cyprus, the weakest team they came up against, Fransisco Neto’s charges averaged just 0.75 goals per game. Their performances in their first two games of the tournament show that Portugal are more of a threat than their qualifying record suggested.
Portugal caused problems for the backlines of both Switzerland and the Netherlands, so that is one reason why we can expect Sunday’s showdown at the Leigh Sports Village to feature goals for both sides. Another reason is the state of Group C. As we discussed earlier, Portugal will qualify for the knockout phase of the Women’s Euro 2022 if they win this match.
That does not mean they will go gung-ho in search of victory, but nor will they be content to sit back and soak up pressure for 90 minutes. Even if they start the match on the back foot, at some point Portugal will need to come out and commit bodies to attack. That is simply what the situation in the group necessitates.
Sweden should prove too strong overall, and they have an incentive to finish top of Group C to try and avoid France in the quarter-finals – another reason why they will not settle for a draw. But even if they storm into a 3-0 lead, the Swedes might take their foot off the gas as the game wears on.
In that scenario, Portugal would fancy their chances of nicking a goal – another reason to back both teams to score.
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|Teams||Sweden vs Portugal|
|Location||Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, England|
|Time||Sunday, 17 July 2022, 12.00 PM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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