England face Sweden on Friday, June 15, in a Group D match that is crucial to both team’s’ chances of qualifying to the next round.
England played out a creditable draw against France in their first match. With France expected to win against Ukraine, a win on Friday would give England a huge boost with a match to go against co-hosts Ukraine. Sweden on the other hand are coming off a loss to Ukraine and a loss would virtually shut the door on their qualification prospects.
Considering that Rooney was absent in England’s first match owing to his suspension, England did well to get away with a point. Rooney’s continued absence against Sweden means that their best hope is to score from a set piece -– especially against a Swedish backline that conceded two headed goals to Ukraine — and Steven Gerrard is the man for the job.
While Hodgson is unlikely to inspire any tactical brilliance in attack, he has brought a measure of discipline to the England defence and the French found themselves up against a resolute back line whenever they tried to take the attacking initiative. But the absence of thrust up front meant that young forwards in Ashley Young and Danny Wellbeck did not get much service form the midfield.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who found himself in the starting eleven, had a good game unlike James Milner who missed the easiest of scoring chances. He also came close to becoming the villain of the piece when his reverse pass to Hart almost resulted in a goal for France. Walcott who scored for England, coming on as a substitute, could replace Milner.
Sweden were laid low by a 2-1 score-line against co-hosts Ukraine, exposing their defensive weakness against crosses into their box, with both goals coming off headers by Andriy Shevchenko. Swedish skipper Ibrahimovic was brilliant on the day but without much assistance from his teammates until the introduction in the second half, of Wilhelmsson and Elmander. Larsson had a disappointing match and could find himself replaced in the starting eleven by Wilhelmsson. Kallstrom also had a mediocre showing despite giving the assist that helped Ibrahimovic score for his side, as did Rasmus Elm.
Ibrahimovic will be key to Sweden’s hopes of taking away full three points from the game, while the in-form Joe Hart in the England goal could prove to be the biggest hurdle for the Northern European outfit.
England’s probable eleven: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lesctt, Cole, Walcott Gerard, Parker, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Young, Wellbeck.
Sweden’s probable eleven: Isaksson, Lustig, Granqvist, Mellberg, M Olsson, Svensson, Elm, Wilhelmsson, Kallstrom, Ibrahimovic, Elmander.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.