World Cup previews: Sweden v South Korea

Here’s what the Football Manager 2018 data has to say about the likely line-ups for this match. The explanation for this is here but in a nutshell I’ve treated the Football Manager database like a scouting tool and compared the two teams across a range of measures by combining their in-game attributes.


Here’s how the two teams stack up in terms of overall ability according to Football Manager’s researchers, i.e. the game’s hidden ‘current ability’ stat:

There’s not too much between these sides, with the most interesting battle likely to be Forsberg vs. Son on the same flank, as both look to be their team’s key attacker. Neither goalkeeper looks to be particularly strong, so perhaps we’ll see some goals here.

Goal threat

Let’s have a look at where these putative goals might come from:

Berg and Toivonen look to be a strong front two for Sweden, with the former the standout player, but the midfield all look capable of getting on the scoresheet. South Korea’s main threat is unsurprisingly Son, with some of the midfielders behind him actually looking more threatening than his fellow forwards.


Here’s who might be instrumental in getting the ball to the aforementioned likely goal-getters:

Neither side is particularly blessed with passing acumen in central defence, so expect any balls won by the centre backs to be quickly laid off. Augustinsson at left back for Sweden looks to have excellent delivery, but overall their team looks pretty capable in possession. South Korea’s options are a bit more limited – Koo Ja-Cheol and Ki Sung-Yueng are their best passers and could combine well with Son on the left, but on the right they may not get far unless Lee Yong is able to support the attack.


Finally let’s have a look at which players are the most mobile, both in terms of raw speed and their ability to sustain their movement over the 90 minutes:

The two teams are pretty evenly-matched here, but the lack of mobility of Sweden’s centre forwards means that they’ll be relying on the wingers to draw players out of position. I’d expect to see South Korea’s wide forwards buzzing around a fair bit with the full backs in support – Son and Park could well give the less manoeuvrable Lustig a torrid afternoon if the latter doesn’t get cover from his team-mates.