Another Group E game that will help decide the fate of what I dubbed before the tournament 'The Group of Death'. Italy are already through to the knockout phase as group winners, we know that. What we don't know is the fate of Belgium and Sweden. If Belgium win this game its simple, they go through to the knockout phase in 2nd place and Sweden go home without any chance of qualifying whatsoever due to them only having a single point. If Sweden win then they have a serious chance of going through in 2nd place depending on the result of the Italy v Republic of Ireland game and if it's a draw, Belgium will go though in 2nd place - simple isn't it?
Belgium have been a bit all over the place this tournament, don't get me wrong they have become known for not quite matching the expectations of pundits and fans alike despite their excellent squad on paper, but that Italy game was awful. They offered absolutely nothing and asked 0 questions of the Italians over 90 minutes. They also looked to be playing out another snoozefest against the Republic of Ireland in the first half of their 2nd Group E game however, they came out in the second half completely rejuvenated and smashed home 3 goals to complete a demolition of their opponent. This game will completely depend on which Belgium team turn up to be honest, they should be able to beat Sweden but you honestly never know.
Sweden managed to scrape a point against Ireland and then almost scraped a point against Italy but couldn't manage it. They haven't exactly sparked the tournament into life whenever they have played and Zlatan hasn't had the effect he will feel that he would have and should have had. Maybe Sweden will come into this game and Zlatan and co will smash the Belgians and go through with consummate ease, but I can't see it happening. This is Belgium's game to lose but I can't completely rule out Sweden who will know that this is their best opportunity to go through.
Belgium have enough to see off Sweden. If they pick up where they left off in the second half of the Republic of Ireland game then there is no reason why they shouldn't blow Sweden away in the same fashion. The problem is that they don't do that very often, still, I fancy them to scrape through to the knockout phase by narrowly winning this game.
This is a massive outside punt that will get you quite a bit of money back if it comes off. I'll be honest this is the fairytale that Sweden will be hoping for and the likelihood of that happening isn't massive but Zlatan can never be completely written off - do that to your peril.
Sweden only have 1 goal to their name in this tournament so many will be backing a Belgian clean sheet but I thought Belgium's defence looked a bit shaky in their previous game and a better team would have put a few of Ireland's chances away and another referee may have given a penalty for Alderweireld's king fu kick on Shane Long. Sweden can score in this game and I think they will do but Belgium will scrape through.
Much like the Republic of Ireland game, I think this will be decided in the second half with Belgium eventually winning it. It may take Mertens coming on as a sub or a tired Swedish defence but Belgium should eventually do enough to see the Swedes off.
Lukaku's second half in his last game was typical of his play that we have seen for Everton this season and exactly why bigger clubs will be looking at signing him this summer. He was woeful against Italy but he put Ireland to the sword in the last game and could do the same to Sweden in this if they allow him the space to do his thing. He's a quick, powerful striker that can cause a lot of damage.
I did say a lot of people will be backing this so it may not have the best odds in the world but it's a good bet to use as a way of earning your stake back on the correct score bet I have tipped if it doesn't quite work out as planned. Belgium do have decent defenders and Sweden have not scored a lot of goals in this tournament so its completely within the realms of possibility for Belgium, with the impressive Thibaut Courtois in net to keep a clean sheet.