Leeds’ Swedish star Pontus Jansson completed the full 90 minutes on Saturday as Sweden thrashed a poor Belarus side 4-0 to see them continue to shine in Group A of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Jansson achieved his twelfth Swedish cap on Saturday against Belarus, who are ranked 72nd in the FIFA World rankings. Unsurprisingly they did not prove to create any sort of attacking threat in the game and the occasional attack they created was thwarted by the 26 year old, who restricted Belarus to just one shot on target.
The 4-0 result was maybe a little unfair on Belarus, as three of the four goals came from goalkeeping errors and the other coming from the penalty spot. However, the three points sees Jansson and Sweden move into second spot in Group A on 10 points, one place behind France. The five games that they have played in the group stages so far has seen them lose only once, to group leaders France in November, as well as winning three and drawing once; resulting in their goal difference being plus seven.
Sweden are on a good run of form, helped by having Pontus at the back although he hasn’t featured in every game. In their last six games they have conceded just four goals, twice to France in the qualifiers and twice to Ivory Coast in a friendly; but perhaps even more impressively scored seventeen during that time. With Pontus and national team captain Andreas Granqvist (who plays for Russian side Krasnodar) at the back preventing the goals being conceded, and the side banging in goals for fun, the Swedes should comfortably secure second spot in the group; which also consists of former 2010 World Cup finalists Holland, who are currently struggling in fourth place behind Bulgaria.
Sweden’s national hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his retirement from international football in 2016, but the national side have not missed him one bit and continue to impress- despite currently being ranked 45th in FIFA’s world rankings.