Sweden V England
Story by Steve Berry
Both England and Sweden will be looking for three points tonight as they go head to head in their crucial second Group D match.
Following a fairly impressive 1-1 draw against France, the England camp have admitted they will be more attacking against Sweden, knowing that a win will leave their fate in their own hand against Ukraine.
However, England have never managed to beat the Swedes in a competitive match, with all their seven encounters ending either in a draw or defeat. There is hope for England though after they beat Sweden 1-0 in a friendly at Wembley in November.
If Sweden lose they’ll be following Republic of Ireland out of the competition so expect an attacking display from both sides, and while a draw won’t spell doom for either team it leaves both needing favourable results from the match against France and Ukraine.
England are expected to start Andy Carroll up front next to Danny Welbeck, after the two paired up with each other in training yesterday.
Youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to drop to the bench with Ashley Young moving from his central role to the left wing, with the Three Lions adopting a more familiar 4-4-2.
Wayne Rooney will have to be a spectator again as he serves the final match of his suspension, with Martin Kelly being the only injury worry with a virus after Glen Johnson overcame his toe infection to play in training.
England fans rejoiced after Sweden’s match against Ukraine when it looked like star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic was injured, but the AC Milan striker has recovered in time for tonight’s game.
Sweden will probably also play a 4-4-2 with Ex Bolton striker Johan Elmander expected to take the place of Johan Rosenberg, who had a poor match last time out.
Jonas Olsson is likely to come back in to the side in place of Mikael Lustig pushing Andreas Granqvist to right back.
Key Man Watch
The big number nine has been brought into the team to expose Sweden’s aerial weakness and that’s exactly what England will hope to do. While Carroll hasn’t lived up to his £35 million price tag yet for Liverpool he showed promising signs of development towards the end of the season. If he plays well he can be lethal, if not then Hodgson’s gamble could backfire big time.
A legend at Aston Villa, Melberg is fondly remembered by many in England for his time in the Premier League. He will need to be a leader at the back if Sweden are to have any success, showing some of the strength and stability he displayed for Villa.