Date: 22nd June 2016 at 11:30am
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Belgium go into Wednesday night’s game in Nice knowing that a victory would see them through to the knockout stages.

A draw would almost certainly do for them as well, although should the Republic of Ireland pull of an unlikely big victory against Italy, it may only be enough for third-place.

For Sweden however; the game really is a must-win. While a draw, or even a defeat, could still see them finish third in Group E, their points tally would almost certainly not be enough to make them one of the best third-placed sides that qualifies for the knockout stages.

The Belgians are the highest ranked team in the tournament, but looked a far cry from the team their individual talent suggests they could be in their opening defeat to Italy. They made amends against the Irish though, with a clinical second-half display that saw them run out 3-0 winners.

The Swedes have been extremely uninspiring, relying on Ciaran Clark’s own goal to rescue a point against Ireland, before a 1-0 defeat to Italy in one of the tournament’s most forgettable games left them on the brink of elimination.

They have failed to register a shot on target thus far, despite having a forward line led by the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who has already announced he will be retiring from international football following this summer’s finals.

Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Belgium defeated the Republic of Ireland 3-0 in their previous Group E fixture on Saturday – Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Team News:

Swedish defender Mikael Lustig went off injured at half-time in their opening match and is unlikely to be fit in time to face the Belgians, so Erik Johansson will once again fill in.

Manager Erik Hamren may be tempted to tinker with the failing forward line and give Emir Kujovic a first appearance of the tournament.

Belgium are unlikely to make any unforced changes to the team that started against the Irish, meaning Marouane Fellaini could be on the bench once more.

They will be sweating on the fitness of Mousa Dembele and Yannick Carrasco, both of whom went off with knocks in the second-half last Saturday.

Should they not be fully fit, or should boss Marc Wilmots opt not to risk them, Radja Nainggolan and Dries Mertens may come in.

FIFA World Ranking: Sweden – 35th; Belgium – 2nd
Previous Meeting: Sweden 0-2 Belgium (June 1, 2014 – International Friendly)
Form: Sweden – LDDWDL; Belgium – LWDWLW
Key Men: Sweden – Zlatan Ibrahimovic; Belgium – Kevin De Bruyne
Shoot Says: Sweden 0-2 Belgium

 
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