Resurgent Russia host fellow World Cup quarter-finalists Sweden in the UEFA Nations League as they look to make it two wins from two in the group.
Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russian Federation
Key Stat: At least one of Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba have scored for Russia in five of their last six matches - the exception being a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay at the World Cup.
Expert Verdict: Russia have backed up their unexpected run to the World Cup quarter-finals well, with two wins from two since - including the win against Turkey that puts them top of their UEFA Nations League group. That Sweden then lost to Turkey was a boost for Russia, who can now put themselves in a commanding position with a home win.
Ilya Kutepov remains absent through injury, while Dmitry Stotsky, Pavel Mogilevets and Anton Shvets have not been retained from the last squad. There is still no place for Fyodor Smolov up front but Alan Dzagoev is fit again and back in the squad.
Denis Cheryshev – The unexpected star of Russia’s World Cup campaign, the Valencia midfielder’s five international goals have all come in the last four months.
Artem Dzyuba – Forced his way back into the starting line-up, and is now captain having scored his 15th international goal in the win against Turkey.
Alan Dzagoev – His injury problems continue to affect him, but the CSKA Moscow playmaker is back in the squad and a key figure when fit.
Russia reached the quarter-finals of their home World Cup, where they were beaten on penalties by Croatia, but have backed up their unexpectedly strong performance well with two wins from two since. Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba, two of their stars of the World Cup, scored again in a 2-1 defeat of Turkey in the UEFA Nations League, before a 5-1 thrashing of the Czech Republic in Rostov. Aleksei Ionov (twice), Anton Zabolotny, Aleksandr Yerokhin and Dmitry Poloz scored in the big win.
Defenders:Manuel Fernandes, Roman Neustadter, Georgiy Dzhikiya, Fyodor Kudryashov
Defensive Midfielders:Yury Gazinskiy, Daler Kuzyayev
Attacking Midfielders:Aleksandr Golovin, Denis Cheryshev, Alan Dzagoev
Sweden have made five changes from the squad selected to face Turkey, with Niklas Hult, Filip Helander, Ken Sema, Sam Larsson and Robin Quaison all dropping out. All five were unused subs for that game. Kristoffer Peterson could make his international debut in midfield, while Andreas Granqvist, Martin Olsson and Emil Forsberg are all back in the squad.
Isaac Thelin – Stepping up in place of retired Ola Toivonen, Thelin scored the opening goal against Turkey.
Andreas Granqvist – One of the stars of Sweden’s World Cup, scoring three times (two penalties) and proving a commanding figure at the back, who was missed in the defeat to Turkey last time out.
Emil Forsberg – Another to miss the two defeats in September, the RB Leipzig playmaker is back in the squad having scored his seventh international goal during the World Cup.
Sweden have lost their last three matches since Emil Forsberg’s goal booked them a World Cup quarter-final spot with a 1-0 win against Switzerland. A 2-0 defeat to England ended their World Cup run, before another 2-0 defeat – this time a friendly against Austria – kicked off their new season. They led 2-0 against Turkey last time out thanks to Isaac Thelin and Viktor Claesson but crashed to a 3-2 defeat as Turkey scored twice in the last few minutes to seal victory.
Defenders:Mikael Lusting, Andreas Granqvist, Pontus Jansson, Ludwig Augustinsson
Midfielders:Viktor Claessen, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg
Forwards:Marcus Berg, Isaac Thelin
Russia and Sweden have met six times since the break-up of the Soviet Union, with Sweden winning the first two before two draws and two Russian wins in the four games since the turn of the century. Their most recent matches were in Euro 2016 qualifying; they drew 1-1 in Sweden with Ola Toivonen cancelling out Aleksandr Kokorin’s early opener, before Artem Dzyuba’s winner in the return fixture in Moscow.
Sweden’s late capitulation has put them in a tricky spot in Group B2, with Russia looking to take control of the group with their two back-to-back home games.
After welcoming Sweden to Kaliningrad, the Russians then host Turkey in Sochi and can wrap up group victory with two wins in those two games.
And to help them achieve that, their new-look squad features a number of experienced players in top form.
Artem Dzyuba is the most obvious of those, forcing his way not only into the Russian starting line-up but now to the captaincy with his performances at the World Cup and since. The big striker is a major threat up front.
Behind him, Alan Dzagoev is fit again to pull the strings in midfield while Denis Cheryshev has been one of their stand-out performers in the last few months after hitting a rich vein of goalscoring form for his country.
Sweden, on the other hand, welcome back experienced players for this match – not least Andreas Granqvist and Emil Forsberg – but an uncharacteristic seven goals conceded in their last three games does not bode well.
Normally so tight at the back, Granqvist’s return is timely but away to resurgent Russia, with Dzyuba’s aerial presence, it will not be easy.
At the other end, Marcus Berg – their top scorer in World Cup qualifying – is suffering a major international goal drought. It is now a year since his four goals against Luxembourg – the last time he scored for Sweden.
As a result, Russia start as favourites and can live up to that billing if they continue their resurgent form – a performance which will leave them in a commanding place in Group B2.
Russia’s home advantage and resurgent form makes them favourites to beat Sweden, but they are still available to back at a generous 11/10 with Bet365 and Betway.
Sweden showed improved form in front of goal in the defeat to Turkey, however, and Russia were prone to conceding at the World Cup.
A Russia win and BTTS is a best price of 19/5 with 888sport, while both teams to score has been set at evens with 10Bet.
Artem Dzyuba is the danger man, and he is 7/4 to score at any time with Bet365 and 10Bet. Denis Cheryshev’s goalscoring form should not be overlooked either – he is a best price of 7/2 with Paddy Power.
Russia, even with several experienced players quitting after the World Cup, having continued to ride the crest of that wave and can add another win at home to Sweden.