Both sides played in UEFA Nations Leagues. Norway played in League C and was a member of group 3, together with Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Slovenia. Norway recorded four wins, one draw, and one defeat and was the winner of the group. With that result, Norway secured promotion to League B and the eventual play-off for Euro 2020.

Sweden played in League B. Together with Russia and Turkey, Sweden was in group 2. Sweden recorded two wins, one draw, and one defeat. Russia had the same score and both teams had seven points. But, Sweden had a better head-to-head score and finished in first place. Sweden secured promotion to League A and the eventual play-off for Euro 2020.

When we talk about qualifications for UEFA Euro 2020, these teams are in Group F together with Spain, Romania, Malta and Faroe Islands. At the end of qualifications, first, two teams will qualify for the final tournament. Norway and Sweden are teams which assured of at least play-offs thanks to first places in Nations Leagues. In their first match in these qualifications, Norway played as the guest against Spain. It was 2-1 for Spain. Sweden was host against Romania, and secured a win (2-1).

Lineups

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
Credit: Wyscout

70-year-old Lars Lagerbäck is the manager of Norway. Interesting thing is that he is from Sweden. Before his arrival, Norway played in different formations. But, under his guidance, Norway plays exclusively in classic 4-4-2. Lagerbäck chose a team with many tall players. All central players are tall (all over 1,87 m), excepted ex-Manchester United player, Joshua King.

Janne Andersson, a 56-year-old manager, is the head coach of Sweden. Under his guidance, Sweden also plays exclusively in classic 4-4-2. Lustig got injured against Romania and he was out of action. RB Leipzig‘s Emil Forsberg has left his national team’s camp and missed the game. Victor Lindelof withdrew from the Sweden squad with his wife set to give birth.

Norway’s attacking strategy and Sweden’s response

Norway played in classic 4-4-2. But, in attacking phase they made some changes. When Norway has the ball in their possession, wingers move inside. Together with central midfielders, they form a rhombus in the middle. The rhombus is usually formed on the ball side area. If necessary, one central midfielder drops deep to form back three together with central defenders. Full backs secure width and they go high when the team has the ball.

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
Ødegaard and Elyounoussi moved inside to form a rhombus with central midfielders. Side backs secured width. We can see the position of left back Aleesami.
UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
Left central back Ajer has the ball in possession. A rhombus is formed on the left side of the pitch. Left-back Aleesami is high and he is in line with Joshua King.

Generally, Norway played long. Central backs usually had a task to play long. Sometimes they play long for side backs, but usually, long balls were played on strikers. But, that strategy wasn’t so effective. Sweden’s midfield and defensive lines were compact and close enough to each other. So, when Norway played long on strikers and Sweden’s central backs cleared the ball, midfield line was close to the ball and usually won the second ball easily. Usually, ball side winger of Sweden close down opponent’s side back and other three players drop deep to win the second ball. Also, Norway attacked usually down the flanks. full backs were key for attacking phase. When full back crossed the ball, far side winger came inside.

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
A long ball is played to strikers. Three of Sweden’s midfield player are close to the ball.
UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
Norway crossed the ball. Far side winger Ødegaard (highlighted) came inside and joined two strikers.

Sweden’s defensive strategy

Sweden played defence in a classic 4-4-2 formation. They used a man-marking system. Winger generally closed down opponent’s full back. Sweden played defence in the middle block. When Norway had a positional attack, usually they didn’t press high. When Norway played the ball back, then Sweden pressed them. Usually one of the strikers pressed central back with the ball and other players closed down passing options.

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
The ball is played back to the central defender. Markus Berg closed him down. Other players closed down passing options.
UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
Sweden’s 4-4-2 in defence. They are ball oriented. Midfield line is narrow.

Sweden’s attacking strategy and Norway’s problems

Sweden’s 4-4-2 in the attacking phase was different from Norway’s. Side backs in Sweden weren’t so offensive oriented as Norway’s. As we saw, Norway generally used flanks for attacking. Sweden was more central oriented. In principle, Sweden had two main attacking strategies. The first strategy was playing long to their strikers. Like in the defensive phase, the midfield line was close to the ball again and tried to win the second ball. Norway had a problem because the gap between their defensive and midfield line was too big.

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
Long ball to the striker. We can see the gap between midfield and defensive line. Two Swedish players are between the lines.

Also, Sweden tried to play between lines. One of the strikers (usually Quaison) or one of the wingers dropped deep to use the gap between the lines. Also, they tried to exploit this gap with quick passing combinations and movements.

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
Again we can see the gap between the lines. Left winger Claesson received the ball between the lines.

The second strategy was pressing after they lost the ball. When Norway had a positional attack, Sweden usually didn’t press them. But, when Sweden lost the ball in the final third, they tried to win the ball and create a goalscoring situation. They used this strategy especially when they had more players near the ball.

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
The combination between Berg, Larsson, and Krafth. Berg played the ball to Krafth. Larsson runs into free space. Then Krafth played the ball to Larsson.
UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying: Norway Sweden Tactical Analysis Statistics
Ajer runs with the ball, but three Swedish players were around him and they won the ball.

Conclusion

It was a very exciting match with six goals. After the first 45 minutes, it was 1-0 for Norway. We saw five goals in the second half. It was 2-0 for Norway until the 70th minute. Then Sweden scored three goals, but in 97th minute Kamara secured one point for Norway.

Sweden was the better side. According to Wyscout, Sweden had xG 4.18 and Norway had xG 1.76. But, in the end, it was 3-3.

Loading...