When contemplating likely goalscorers in any match involving Sweden, it’s mightily difficult to look beyond the name of one man.
I’ll mention him once but only to clarify that we’re all definitely thinking about the same person and I’m certainly not going to mention him again – it is, of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Swedish coach Erik Hamren has got the talismanic maniac playing in a deeper role for his country these days, meaning he is no longer the focal point of attack but rather a conduit for creating goalscoring chances for his teammates.
PSV Eindhoven’s Ola Toivonen is one of those hoping to capitalise on this amendment to Sweden’s shape, starting with this evening’s final Euro 2012 warm-up game against Serbia..
The 25-year-old scored, on average, a goal every other game last season with 24 goals in 48 appearances, including 18 goals in the Eredivisie as he finished just behind fellow countryman and Manchester City loanee John Guidetti in the Dutch goalscoring charts.
Not only is Toivonen coming off the back of an impressive domestic season, but he has also proven his worth at international level, scoring the winning goal in Sweden’s crucial qualification tie with Holland and getting on the scoresheet in their most recent friendly match against Iceland.
Bwin offer odds of 19/20 on Toivonen scoring this time around, while he is rated as a 5/1 shot to break the deadlock and the same price to notch the final goal of the game.
You have to look way down the list of goalscorers until you reach the first Serbian name, with Danko Lazovic, Stefan Scepovic and Dejan Lekic all 13/4 to score in the game.
Lazovic scored 12 goals in 41 appearances for Zenit St Petersburg last season and has a similar ratio for his country, having scored just 11 times in 43 appearances – so he’s not exactly prolific .
Scepovic fared marginally better last season, scoring 13 times in 31 games, although this was for Hapoel Acre in the Israeli Ligat Ha’Al, which, let’s face it, is hardly the most esteemed of footballing platforms.
Osasuna forward Lekic may be the best bet for Siniša Mihajlović’s side, even though he’s scored just six goals since he joined the Spanish club in 2010.
Despite this rather modest haul, he did score three times against footballing purists Barcelona last season – once in the Copa del Rey and twice in La Liga as Osasuna triumphed 3-2 at El Sadar.
But I’ll be getting my money on Toivonen to score at any time, with returns of £48.75 on offer for anyone backing him with their free £25 bet for registering with bwin.
And just in case you were wondering, Ibrahimovic is 7/20 to score in the match. Damn.
Recommended bet: Ola Toivonen to score against Serbia @ 19/20
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