Sweden 1-1 Spain: 3 Talking Points | Euro 2020 Qualifiers
#2 Sweden's gameplan almost prevails, exposing tiki-taka flaws
If you only watched the first twenty minutes here and had to go out, you'd be justified in assuming Spain eventually ran away with the game. Instead, Sweden held firm and responded well to the ongoing pressure on their goal - having Robin Olsen to thank for keeping the scores level - before exacting a plan of their own which almost worked to perfection.
Suckering the Spaniards into a false sense of security worked because they were able to counter-attack with numbers and force their opponents into mistakes in possession. Rodri, Thiago and Ceballos all relinquished possession cheaply at times, while their fullbacks in Bernat and Carvajal lost it more than most. 32 times combined between the pair over the 90.
Despite firing narrowly wide before half-time, Forsberg was fairly quiet but Quaison certainly wasn't: it was his brilliant cross in the build-up which created Berg's opener, while the Swedes were economical with timing and nature of their tactical fouls (18), stifling Spain after scoring.
It exposed Spain's tiki-taka weakness, one regularly questioned when they fall short at major tournaments or struggle to breakdown sides they should be comfortably beating. A prime example was World Cup hosts Russia last summer and despite being a drastically different team 14 months on, the same issues are bubbling to the surface again.