Sweden - Austria

30 Aug 2021
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14.05. 11:20 CET

Sweden is experiencing a medal dry period, after the gold from Switzerland they dropped out from the World Championships in the quarterfinals, then the championship was cancelled by covid, last year they didn't even advance out of the group stage and the 4th place at this year's Olympics was also disappointing. So coach Johan Garpenlöv has one last chance to improve his reputation this year, he is out of the national team after the tournament.

The fact is that Sweden have done well in Finland, having hosted the championship in their neighbour, advancing to the finals three times and winning gold twice. This year the Swedes are not the biggest favourites, but that is a position that suits them. Even though offensive players Elias Pettersson, Alexander Wennberg and Gustav Nyquist declined to represent, it's the defence in particular that is respectable. Half of it is made from NHL players, with 2019 World Champions captain Oliver Ekman Larsson and No. 1 draft pick Rasmus Dahlin being top quality.

Austria has only one goal - to stay in the elite division, to which they returned at the expense of the eliminated Belarus/Russia duo. Although the Austrians narrowly lost 0:1 to Sweden in the recent friendly match, it will be a different story at the championship itself. Sweden needs to start the tournament on a positive note and that will be a big win for them. After all, the last two mutual matches at the World Championship ended in Austrian debacles (7:0, 9:1).

My prediction: Sweden and Over 6.5 Goals @ 2.09

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