By 90Min
June 26, 2018

Mexico will face Sweden in their final FIFA World Cup Group F clash in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday, in a match where both sides still have their fate in their own hands. The Mexicans currently top the group with six points, which means that they will win the group if they avoid defeat.

Meanwhile, the Swedes know that a two goal victory will see them leapfrog Mexico, but a Swedish win of any description will see both sides progress if Germany fail to defeat South Korea in their final match.

Image by James Taylor

El Tricolor's stunning 1-0 win over Germany in their opening match threw the group wide open, while Sweden had one foot in the second round until Toni Kroos broke their hearts with a late winner in their 2-1 defeat to the holders.


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Image by James Taylor

Mexico qualified for the World Cup with relative ease, winning the CONCACAF group by five points and losing just one of ten matches - and that was after they'd already qualified. However, their results in friendlies in 2018 were mixed at best, culminating in a 2-0 defeat by Denmark in their final warm-up match.

For most observers, the Mexicans' scintillating display in their 1-0 win over World Cup holders Germany came completely out of the blue. Yet that result was no flash in the pan, as El Tricolor duly dispatched South Korea with relative ease in their second match.

Image by James Taylor

Sweden had a far more arduous route to Russia than Mexico - they faced Italy in a two-legged play off last autumn. In a result which sent shock waves all around the world, Sweden defeated I Azzurri 1-0 on aggregate. To put that result in perspective, it was the first time the Italians had failed to qualify for a World Cup since the 1958 edition - which, coincidentally, was held in Sweden.

If Mexico's warm-up results were mixed, Sweden's were dismal - they drew two and lost two, scoring just once in the process. Yet they hit the ground running in Russia with a deserved 1-0 win over South Korea, before suffering a cruel, late defeat against the holders.


Team News

Image by James Taylor

According to the latest reports, neither manager has any injuries or suspensions to worry about. However, Mexican duo Hector Moreno and Hector Herrera are both on yellow cards, as are three Swedes - Viktor Claesson, Sebastian Larsson and Albin Ekdal.

Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio only made one change for the clash with South Korea, replacing centre back Hugo Ayala with 20-year-old rising star Edson Alvarez. Seeing as El Tri haven't yet confirmed their place in the last 16, Osorio is unlikely to rest key players for the Sweden match.

Image by James Taylor

With Sweden desperate for the emphatic win which would ensure their progress, it would arguably be very risky for manager Janne Andersson to make any significant personnel changes, after two solid performances from the Swedes with largely the same lineup.

Andersson's only change for the Germany match was to bring in Manchester United's Victor Lindelof instead of Pontus Jansson in central defence. Lindelof gave a decent account of himself in the Germany game, so he would be unfortunate to lose his starting berth.


Predicted Lineups:


Mexico (4-2-3-1): Guillermo Ochoa; Edson Alvarez, Carlos Salcedo, Hector Moreno, Jesus Gallardo; Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado, Miguel Layun, Carlos Vela, Hirving Lozano; Javier Hernandez.

Sweden (4-4-2): Robin Olsen; Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist, Ludwig Augustinsson; Viktor Claesson, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg; Ola Toivonen, Marcus Berg.


Classic Encounter (Group Stage, 1958 World Cup)


We have to go all the way back to 1958 for the only previous World Cup clash between these two sides, in which hosts Sweden ran out 3-0 winners against a Mexican side which finished bottom of Group 3. An Agne Simonsson brace and a Nils Liedholm penalty reflected the gulf in class between the two sides.

Before the current tournament, that was the last time the Swedes won their opening match in a World Cup - and they went on to reach the final, defeating holders West Germany 3-1 in the semi-final.

The 1958 side was arguably Sweden's first 'Golden Generation'. However, lifting the trophy proved to be a step too far for them, as they were outclassed 5-2 by Brazil in the final.


Predicted Result

Image by James Taylor

Mexico may struggle to emulate their superb display in their opening win over Germany. However, their combination of defensive solidity, industriousness and flair will still present a tough test for the Swedes, who have generally looked efficient but unspectacular at this summer's World Cup.

The two sides look fairly evenly matched, which is bad news for Sweden, who need an emphatic win to be sure of progressing. All things considered, a draw looks like the likeliest result.

Predicted Result: Mexico 1-1 Sweden

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