Group A leaders France will not be taking anything for granted in their World Cup qualifier against second-placed Sweden in Stockholm on Friday, French coach Didier Deschamps has said.
The Swedes shocked the French in Paris in November, keeping the game scoreless throughout the first half and even taking the lead early in the second, but goals from Paul Pogba and Dmitri Payet eventually gave France all three points.
“We’re calm, but we have to be humble especially after that match in November. We cannot believe that it is all over – we are calm, but careful,” the 48-year-old added.
With five of the 10 qualifying games played, France top the table on 13 points. With the Swedes three points behind in second place and the Netherlands struggling to find their form, a win on Friday would put France in a strong position to qualify.
It would go some way to repairing the heartbreak the French suffered last summer when, as hosts of Euro 2016, they lost the final in Paris to Portugal after an extra-time goal by Eder.
French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said his side were surprised when they first met the Swedes, whose record goal-scorer, former Paris Saint Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has retired from international football.
The Swedes will be happy to let France have the lion’s share of possession on Friday night, but Sweden coach Jan Andersson says they won’t fall into the trap of giving the ball back to them.