Sweden U21 take on the visitors North Macedonia U21 in UEFA Euro U21 qualification match. The match will be played on Friday, September 8th at Stadsparksvallen (Jönköping).
Sweden have traditionally been a formidable force at the youth level, often making it to the final stages of tournaments. They missed out on this summer's Euro tournament, which should further motivate them in the ongoing qualification. The Swedes started with a convincing 5-0 victory over Gibraltar. With the Netherlands being the only serious competition in this group, Sweden have a good chance of securing a top-two spot. The key for Sweden will be to maintain their focus in matches like the upcoming one and accumulate points based on their skill. Macedonian youth teams have never been particularly strong, and the national team is also not considered a formidable force. Therefore, after a 5-0 victory over Gibraltar, Sweden may well be aiming for another convincing win.
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For North Macedonia, their fate in this group will likely be a battle for a maximum of the 4th place. Gibraltar are expected to be at the bottom, and Macedonians will likely compete with Moldova for the 4th spot because moving higher up the table will be challenging. While Macedonians can't be considered complete outsiders, when it comes to facing strong opponents like the Swedes, they often struggle. In the previous qualification, the Macedonian youth team even finished below the Faroe Islands in the final standings. They have played five friendly matches this year, with only a victory against Malta. They lost to Latvia and Slovakia and had draws against Armenia and Finland. Their performance in the qualification will likely follow a similar pattern, with better results against weaker opponents and fewer prospects against stronger ones.
It's unlikely that this match will have a particularly surprising outcome. It's much more probable that Sweden will simply use their skill to secure three points. The odds on the home team are predictably not very high, so it's worth considering a handicap bet. I would go for a (-1.5) handicap in favor of Sweden. However, you could even consider higher handicaps for the home team.
Prediction for the match: Sweden U21 to win with -1.5 handicap.