Sweden-Argentina Preview: Messi & Ibrahimovic set for Stockholm showdown

Two of the biggest names in global football will go head-to-head with the Albiceleste looking to build upon their recent impressive form ahead of next month's World Cup qualifiers


Lustig, Granqvist, J. Olsson, M. Olsson
Elm, Wernbloom
Larsson, Ibrahimovic, Holmen

Zabaleta, F. Fernandez, Garay, Ansaldi
Gago, Mascherano, Di Maria
Aguero, Messi, Higuain

Argentina will hope that Lionel Messi can outshine Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and help them extend their current eight-game unbeaten run in official matches.

Alejandro Sabella's men have not tasted defeat since their opening World Cup qualifier against Venezuela back in 2011 and the coach will be doing all he can to ensure that does not happen again with Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Messi all set to start.

Having garnered the favour of their trainer, Federico Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay will continue their partnership at the heart of defence while Rubin Kazan's Cristian Ansaldi may be rewarded with a place in the first XI.

Sweden boss Erik Hamren has a few options to use in front of Ibrahimovic so Johan Elmander will have to fight off competition to lead the line from Udinese's Mathias Ranegie.

Alexander Kacanikilic, who had a fantastic impact in Blagult's memorable four-goal comeback against Germany last year, is also in contention for a starting berth but Samuel Holmen should get the nod.

  • Sweden have not lost a game since the last time they played South American opposition, when Brazil beat Erik Hamren's men 3-0 in Stockholm in August.
  • However, Blagult remain unbeaten against Wednesday's opponents with one win and a draw in their only two meetings.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pictured, right) is just 10 goals away from equalling Sven Rydell's all-time goalscoring record for Sweden with 49 strikes.
  • Lionel Messi failed to find the net in just two of his nine appearances for Argentina in 2012, scoring an impressive 13 goals in that time.
  • An appearance for the Barcelona man will see him pass Juan Pablo Sorin to become the nation's ninth-most capped player.
  • The Albiceleste are currently leading the way in South American World Cup qualifying, standing atop of the table after nine rounds.