Three Meatballs Plus One on Sweden

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Photo Credit: FIFA.com/Getty Images

1.  THEY KEEP FINDING WAYS TO WIN:  From the start, no one was going to mistake the Swedes for being the flashiest team in the tournament, but they do what they had to do to win against the Dutch, then the Italians in the playoff, and now the Swiss in the Round of 16. They may not have Zlatan, but they have a team spirit and a will to win right now even if it’s not flashy (and I don’t mean Adobe flash).

2.  THEY NEED TO BE BETTER IN THE FINAL THIRD:  A lack of a finished product prevented Sweden from winning by more. Not having Seb Larsson didn’t help. Marcus Berg has yet to score in the World Cup. Even the goal was the result of a fortunate deflection, but it never hurts putting one on target Emil Forsberg did just that. In the quarterfinals and beyond, they will need to be better in the final third like they were against Mexico.
3.  WHO NEEDS ZLATAN?:  Sweden made the quarters at Euro 2004 with Zlatan. They only got as far as the Round of 16 in 2002 and 2006 with Zlatan. They just made a quarterfinals of the World Cup without Zlatan. Having Zlatan would have helped Sweden, but having high team spirit is helping more right now.
The +1:  Gustav Svensson:  He is the lone MLS player left in the tournament. Who would have guessed that at the start of the World Cup? He did not play in the loss to Germany. Hmm…..

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