Azerbaijan vs Sweden Match Analysis & Prediction
16/11/2023 8:00 pm
An inconsequential Euro 2024 qualifying Group F match takes place in Baku on Thursday night, as Azerbaijan host Sweden at the Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium.
Both nations have already been eliminated from top-two contention, but Sweden’s fate paled into insignificance amid the distressing scenes in Brussels last month.
While Azerbaijan can only finish third at best in Euro 2024 qualifying, they are still in contention to reach their maiden major tournament through the playoffs, although they are relying on some of their former League C rivals to do them a favour for that scenario to materialise.
October began pisitively for Giovanni De Biasi’s side, who followed up a 2-1 friendly victory over Jordan in September with a 2-0 qualifying win over bottom side Estonia, and they gave already-qualified Austria a brilliant run for their money on matchday six.
However, in the end, Marcel Sabitzer’s 48th-minute penalty – conceded by a Rahil Mammadov handball – denied Azerbaijan a point, and they could hardly have been blessed with a more tough end to proceedings – a trip to group leaders Belgium awaits on Sunday.
Nevertheless, De Biasi’s side could progress to the playoffs as one of the four top-ranked League C teams, although those spots are currently filled by Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan and Luxembourg, with Azerbaijan next in line for a ticket.
With Georgia unable to finish in the top two of their section, Azerbaijan will therefore require at least one of Greece, Kazakhstan or Luxembourg to qualify directly and pass their playoff spot onto them, but the first item on the National Team’s agenda is ending a nine-game run without a home win in Euros qualifying.
After Viktor Gyokeres’ goal for Sweden was cancelled out by a Romelu Lukaku penalty in Brussels on October 16, the distressful news broke of two Swedish supporters being shot dead in a terrorist attack in the Belgian capital as they made their way to the King Baudouin Stadium.
As Sweden fans were kept inside the stadium for their own safety, both teams agreed to prematurely end the game at half time before also shaking hands on the 1-1 half-time scoreline as the full-time result, given that little was at stake with regards to qualification.
While football will undoubtedly come second for Sweden in their final two matches, the Blue and Yellow – who sit third in the group with seven points to their name – have failed to qualify for the Euros for the first time since 1996, meaning that Janne Andersson’s tenure in the hotseat will come to an end this month.
The 61-year-old agreed to step down if he failed to lead Sweden to next year’s tournament, so the Blue and Yellow can only endeavour to give their long-serving leader the perfect send-off in his two matches in charge against Azerbaijan and Estonia.
Azerbaijan vs. Sweden Head to head
Sweden have won each of the three previous meetings between these two teams, scoring nine goals without conceding.
02/09/2000Azerbaijan0Sweden1UEFA World Cup Qualifiers
07/10/2001Sweden3Azerbaijan0UEFA World Cup Qualifiers
Azerbaijan Team News
Thursday’s game is set to be a touching occasion for Azerbaijan striker Musa Qurbanly, who plays Swedish club Djurgaden, but the 21-year-old will likely have to provide impetus from the bench this week.
Instead, 10-goal attacker Sheydayev ought to form a two-pronged attack with Hatayspor’s Renat Dadashov, most likely with Emin Mahmudov wearing the captain’s armband as Azerbain’s creator-in-chief.
Azerbaijan's Last 5 Matches
Sweden Team News
Newcastle United striker Alexander Isak headlines Sweden’s list of absentees as he battles his way back from a groin injury, although he is expected to make a full recovery while domestic action is on hold.
Andersson ought to deploy an identical strikeforce of Gyokeres and Dejan Kulusevski from their abandoned encounter with Belgium.
Sweden's Last 5 Matches
Azerbaijan vs. Sweden: Odds and Predictions
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