Bengaluru, June 13: Three-time champions of Europe, Spain start their Euro 2020 campaign on Monday (June 14) at the Estadio La Cartuja in Seville against a familiar Sweden side whom they faced twice in the qualifiers.
La Roja have not enjoyed much at the international stage in recent times following their dominance in World football for several years until 2012. They were knocked out of the 2014 World Cup from the group stage, before only reaching the round of 16 in Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
However, with the amount of quality Luis Enrique has at his disposal, it will be foolish to write them off as one of the frontrunners for the European crown.
Spain's preparations for the European Championship have been far from ideal, with captain Sergio Busquets and then defender Diego Llorente testing positive for coronavirus in quick succession which forced them to field their Under-21s for the clash with Lithuania on June 8, with the whole first team isolated.
Meanwhile, Sweden should enter the competition with plenty of confidence having won each of their last five matches, including back-to-back friendly victories over Finland and Armenia just ahead of the Euros.
Spain vs Sweden Head to head record
The two nations have met 14 times in the past and Spain have come out victorious in six occasions while Sweden have won thrice with the other five games ending in stalemates.
When the sides met in the qualifiers, Spain clinched a 3-0 win at home but could only manage a 1-1 draw in Sweden. But, Spain have a flawless record against Sweden in their home soil and that should inspire them ahead of their tournament opener.
Spain vs Sweden Key players
Spain - Thiago Alcantara
It is difficult to pick one single key player for Spain considering the amount of talent they have produced in recent years. Midfield orchestrator Thiago Alcantara is likely to be the most experienced player to be picked with Sergio Busquets missing due to coronavirus and he will be the key player for his country.
Sweden - Alexander Isak
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic missing the Euros with injury and another star player Dejan Kulusevski missing due to coronavirus, all eyes will be on Alexander Isak, touted as the 'next Zlatan Ibrahimovic'. The 21-year-old plays club football in Spain and knows almost the whole Spanish squad very well and has what it takes to make things difficult for them.
Spain vs Sweden Probable line-ups
Spain: Unai Simon; Marcos Llorente, Aymeric Laporte, Pau Torres, Jose Gaya; Thiago Alcantara, Rodri, Fabian Ruiz, Ferran Torres, Alvaro Morata, Mikel Oyarzabal.
Sweden: Robin Olsen; Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Marcus Danielson, Ludwig Augustinsson; Viktor Claesson, Albin Ekdal, Kristoffer Olsson, Emil Forsberg; Marcus Berg, Alexander Isak.
My Dream11 team for Spain vs Sweden
Goalkeeper - Unai Simon
Defenders - Ludwig Augustinsson, Aymeric Laporte, Jose Gaya
Midfielders - Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Fabian Ruiz, Thiago Alcantara
Forwards - Alexander Isak, Ferran Torres, Alvaro Morata
Best Choice For Captain And Vice-Captain
Alexander Isak and Ferran Torres
Kick off time in India and how to watch
Date: June 15 (Tuesday), 2021
Time: 12:30 AM IST
TV Channels: Sony Ten 2/HD (English), Sony Ten 3/HD (Hindi), Sony Six/HD and Sony Ten 4/HD (Regional language)
Live Streaming: Sony LIV and Jio TV