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NY Post
New York Post
22 Jul 2023

NextImg:Women’s World Cup predictions: Sweden vs. South Africa odds, picks

There’s plenty of dark horse buzz around Sweden at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The Blue and Yellow are currently +1600 to win the tournament at DraftKings, making them the seventh-favorite, and are ranked as the No. 3 team in the world according to FIFA.

But a tough draw — at least beyond the group stage — has caused plenty of people to reconsider whether or not the Swedes will make noise Down Under.

That shouldn’t be a problem on Sunday morning (1 a.m. ET) though.

The Swedes are -1400 favorites to beat South Africa, who are currently sitting at a robust +2200 to pull the upset.

Sweden may not be known as a soccer powerhouse in the men’s game, but the women’s national team has been a picture of consistency over the years.

The Swedes finished in third place at the 2019 World Cup, are back-to-back Silver Medalists at the Olympics and just made it to the semifinals of the 2022 European Championships.

The Blue and Yellow are a legitimate contender and if it wasn’t for a tough Round of 16 draw against either the United States or the Netherlands looming, there would be more buzz about their chances to go deep.

Not only are the Swedes an experienced bunch that’s used to playing together in big matches, but they also have plenty of star power.

Stina Blackstenius is a trendy pick to win the Golden Boot at +2000, while Fridolina Rolfo has excelled at Barcelona.

Fridolina Rolfo

Fridolina Rolfo of Sweden looks on during a Training Session on July 19, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand.
FIFA via Getty Images

Whether Rolfo can apply what she does at Barcelona, where she plays as an attacking wingback, to the national team is one of the main concerns for the Blue and Yellow, but their ceiling will be quite high if things click.

South Africa comes into this match as a massive underdog and were one of a few teams in the field that was at odds with its soccer federation’s overpayment.

Banyana Banyana were able to settle the dispute in time for the tournament thanks to billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe stepping in, but the ordeal disrupted their buildup and even led to plenty of starts sitting out the final warm-up match against Botswana.

With the way this group sets up the Champions of Africa will want to do everything in their power to keep this game tidy and close.

Banyana Banyana will still be big underdogs in their matches against Argentina and Italy, but its more realistic to go after results in those matches and focus on keeping their goal difference intact against Sweden.

That task will be quite difficult against a team with this kind of attacking talent and I think there’s value on the Over 3.5 and Blackstenius anytime goalscorer.

The Bets: Over 3.5 (+110, DraftKings) | Stina Blackstenius to score (-120)