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Women’s World Cup Prediction: Sweden vs. South Africa Women – July 23, 2023

Women’s World Cup Prediction: Sweden vs. South Africa Women – July 23, 2023

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP PREDICTION: SWEDEN vs SOUTH AFRICA WOMEN – July 23, 2023 — Can Sweden break its streak of bouncing back and forth between semifinal appearances and early flameouts?

In 2003, 2011 and 2019, Sweden ended the World Cup on the podium, finishing with two third-places and a runner-up spot. But in 2007 and 2015, Sweden couldn’t handle its group assignments. Both years, the Swedes landed in a group with the United States and another world power and ended up third in the group.

The streak should come to an end this time, as Sweden is clearly the top team in the group and shouldn’t have many problems with South Africa.

The South Africans were a tad overmatched four years ago at the 2019 World Cup, playing three matches without earning a point, and they’re arriving in New Zealand with a plethora of off-pitch problems.

The starters boycotted a match with Botswana two weeks ago, resulting in a 5-0 loss with a makeshift side. If the South Africans are to have any chance, they’ll have to put their problems to the side. 

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Match Preview

When: Sunday, July 23rd at 1 a.m. EDT

Where: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand

Spread: Sweden -2.5/South Africa +2.5

Moneyline: Sweden -1200/South Africa +1300/Draw +1000

Totals: Over 3/Under 3

Odds courtesy of DraftKings.


Scouting Sweden

Sweden’s best players can be summed up in two ways: overshadowed at their club teams and overshadowed on the world’s stage.

At San Diego, Sofia Jakobsson is overshadowed by the likes of Alex Morgan, while Fridolina Rolfo drops to left back at Barcelona instead of pushing forward. Here, they’ll both be attacking and drawing plenty of attention to themselves. So will midfielders Caroline Seger and Kosovare Asllani, both of whom can create and score as well as anyone.

But under the surface, this is really the last chance for Sweden to earn the top spot on the podium.

Time and time again, the Swedes have come close to the peak but never reached the top. Over the past 12 years, Sweden has had nine shots at either a World Cup, European Championship or Olympic gold, and they’ve come away with four semifinal losses and two second-place finishes. With Seger, Asllani and Jakobsson all 33 or over, this is really it for this group.

Scouting South Africa

South Africa might seem a tad overmatched given what happened last time, but Banyana Banyana does come in as the African champion. The South Africans excelled at counter-attacking at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations to win the title, and the back four will have to be at its best to have any chance.

One of the few names soccer fans might recognize is Thembi Kgatlana, a jet who plays her soccer in the States for Racing Louisville. She wasn’t part of the AFCON championship side last year, sidelined with a torn Achilles.

She’s back and joined up top by 20-year-old Wendy Shongwe, who was a track star as a teen before deciding that she preferred team sports and switched to soccer. South Africa will be one of the more athletic sides at this tournament, which could help minimize Sweden’s large technical advantage.

Match Bets

Sweden -2.5 (-110)

Finishing first is key in any group at a World Cup in order to minimize your chance of a tough Round of 16 assignment, but it’s especially critical out of Group G.

That’s because Group G’s been partnered with Group E, also known as the United States’ group. Even though only two other sides have more wins against the Americans all-time than Sweden’s eight, the Swedes still would rather not see the Americans until the semifinals if they can avoid it.

That means they need to punish South Africa and give themselves a cushion before facing Italy and Argentina.

The Italians have improved a lot over the past few tournaments, and they’re probably the one team in the group that can really worry the Swedes. A big result would allow Sweden to force Italy to bring the match to them in the second contest, as nobody in Group G wants to be the unlucky side that has to face the Americans in the Round of 16.

Both Teams to Score (+165)

Sweden’s defense has been rather leaky, to say the least. The Swedes have played five matches in 2023, only keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 stalemate with Germany. Otherwise, they’ve been breached by China, Denmark, the Philippines and gave up three to Norway. As long as South Africa is on the same page, Banyana Banyana should be good value for a marker.

Final Score

The Swedes know what they need to do, and they’re likely arriving in the right frame of mind to do it. South Africa has a reasonable shot at a consolation goal, but that’s about it against an opponent of this caliber. I’ll play Sweden 4, South Africa 1 (+1300).

Dan’s Picks

  •  Sweden -2.5

  • Both Teams to Score

  • Sweden 4-1

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