Sweden vs Argentina: Zlatan vs Messi

Sweden vs Argentina
6 February 2013
Friendly
Friends Arena, Solna

Unofficial Football World Champions Sweden face a tough test in this mouthwatering clash at the Friends Arena on Wednesday. Sweden’s latest UFWC reign has taken them to 7th place in the all-time rankings, ahead of Germany, Italy and France. But Wednesday’s opposition is one of the few teams still ranked above Sweden – 3rd placed Argentina.

Initial thoughts are inevitably of a personal match-up between two of football’s great individuals. But, intriguing as it is to wonder which one might be Unofficial Football World Champion at the end of the match, this is more than just Zlatan versus Messi. Both teams will field strong sides in what looks like being the toughest UFWC clash since October 2010, when Argentina defeated Spain 4-1. That was Argentina’s last UFWC win – they lost the title to Japan in their next match.

Friends Arena by alinnman / FlickrFriends Arena by alinnman / Flickr

After fielding a mostly Nordic-based squad in the King’s Cup tournament, Sweden will welcome back several senior players for this game – most notably mercurial Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. English-based players Seb Larsson of Sunderland, Jonas Olsson of West Bromwich Albion and Martin Olsson of Blackburn Rovers are all back in the squad. King’s Cup winners Anders Svensson, Adam Johansson and Tobias Hysen retain their berths.

The Argentinian players won’t have too far to travel for this match. Santos midfielder Walter Montillo is the only non-European-based player in Alejandro Sabella’s Argentina squad. The previously-mentioned Lionel Messi is included, as is Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano, plus Real Madrid rivals Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain. Premier League stars include Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero of Manchester City, Newcastle United’s Fabricio Coloccini, plus Franco Di Santo of Wigan Athletic. Valencia midfielder Ever Banega is named in the squad for the first time since he was injured in a freak accident in October 2011, when his car rolled onto his leg while he was filling up with petrol.

Argentina played 11 matches in 2012 and lost only one. That was against Brazil in the first leg of a two-legged friendly using players from domestic leagues that was ultimately decided on penalties – so it probably shouldn’t be seen as representative. Sweden also have a strong recent record. They’ve beaten England and drawn with Germany, and – of course – are the current unofficial champs.

It looks like a hard match to call, although the bookmakers fancy Argentina. At the time of writing, Bet365 have Messi and company as 5/4 favourites, with Zlatan’s Sweden at a tempting 11/5. You can also watch a free and legal live stream of the match via Bet365, subject to restrictions in your country. Just click on the link below. You’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one, but you don’t need to make a bet. If you do open an account and decide to make a deposit of £10 or more, you’ll be entitled to up to £200 in free bets.

Kick off on Wednesday is 1930. If you can’t watch the live stream, watch this space for full coverage, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

UFWC T-Shirt Shop

Get your UFWC T-shirts, including mascot, trophy and national teams, at our T-shirt shop

About Paul Brown

Paul is a freelance journalist and author. He created the UFWC in 2003, and subsequently wrote the Unofficial Football World Champions book. He can be found on Twitter @paulbrownUK.

2 thoughts on “Sweden vs Argentina: Zlatan vs Messi

  1. netzakh

    OT: quicker access to the forum

    To reach the UFWC forum from the UFWC homepage, one needs to click on a menu sub-item, then on one of the two equivalent links in the page to which the sub-item leads, and then on the forum name (though no other forums are hosted there).

    I suggest that a new top-level menu item is added, namely “Forum” leading directly to

    http://ufwc.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=discusstheufwchere

  2. Jesse

    Argentina has become the new champions. Now let’s see how long they can keep their title. They are currently 3rd in the all time ranking and there’s still a gap of over 20 UFWC wins between them and England.

Comments are closed.