Sweden vs. England: 10 Bold Predictions for Euro 2012 Group D Clash
Euro 2012 Group D action begins again on Friday June 15 as Sweden take on England at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.
It's practically a must-win game for both nations as Sweden fell to defeat against co-hosts Ukraine in their opener, whilst England were held to a draw by France.
It should be a great game, and here are my 10 prediction's going into the match.
England Will Win the Game
England almost have to win the game to stand a chance of progressing, but for Sweden, it's a necessity.
A loss for the Swede's would see them out of the competition, meaning that if England could get an early goal, Sweden will have to pile forward thus leaving themselves open to the counter attack.
I fancy that England will claim a landmark victory of Sweden in what promises to be an open game.
For the statistician's amongst you that refer to that fact that England have NEVER beaten Sweden in a competitive match...well...you've never beaten anybody until you beat them.
Roy Hodgson Will Mix Things Up
England looked defensively solid against France and could perhaps consider themselves unfortunate to have conceded a goal that Joe Hart would expect to save on any other day.
Whether you saw the result and performance as a positive or a negative, I wouldn't be surprised to see Hodgson mix things up for the game against Sweden.
Hodgson has already expressed concerns about keeping the likes of Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard fresh, but those players are perhaps the only two midfielders who's work rate guarantees them pitch time.
Expect a different lineup, formation and tactics.
The Result Doesn't Guarantee Anything for England
Perhaps not the boldest of titles, but even if England win the game against Sweden, they will still require a result against Ukraine in the last group game of the tournament in order to progress.
There are many outcomes left for Group D; England winning both remaining games is the only way they can ensure they finish top of the group.
There Will Be at Least Three Goals
As stated in the opening slide, this is a MUST-win game for Sweden, more so than England.
The Swedes requirement to attack and score goals will mean an open counter-attacking game that will wow the fans and provide at least three goals.
I'm willing to go so far as to say only one of those will be for Sweden.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Will Score
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is by far the most high profile player in the Swedish team, and he looked sharp in his opening game against Ukraine—bagging a goal in the process.
Zlatan will be expecting good service in a game he knows his country must win. Zlatan is a player for the big occasion, and they don't get much bigger than this.
Danny Welbeck Won't Score
Despite his promising performance and good link-up play against France, Danny Welbeck failed to register a single shot on goal in his 90 minute performance.
When you're playing as a lone striker, that statistic isn't necessarily terrible, but certainly unfortunate.
I can't see Welbeck breaking his duck against the Swedes, despite the fact he will likely play for the full game.
Kim Kallstrom Will Be Sweden's Danger Man
Despite the obvious danger of a player such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden also have a player who is highly underestimated in world football.
Lyon's Kim Kallstrom is an assist machine for his national side. The 29-year-old midfielder managed to set up seven goals in Euro 2012 qualifying whilst notching three goals himself.
He is already off and running in the finals as well, assisting the goal against Ukraine in his first group match.
Impressive statistics for someone rarely considered a big threat.
Andy Carroll Will Make a Splash
Andy Carroll didn't make it off the bench in England's opening game, but the Liverpool striker is more than capable of grabbing the headlines against Sweden.
Danny Welbeck cut a solitary figure against the French and was too often left out in the wilderness to be fully effective on his own.
A hustle and bustle strike partner that will win header's and link up with Welbeck is required, and my preference would certainly be Carroll over the slightly framed Defoe.
Leighton Baines Could Get the Nod over Ashley Cole
Despite reassurances that Ashley Cole will be fit and ready for the game against Sweden, you obviously don't sit out a training session unless something is wrong.
Perhaps Roy Hodgson may see the Friday game as an opportunity to rest Cole and preserve his injury, but if Baines shines against the Swedes, will he get back in the side?
England Fans Will Be Happy with the Performance
If you're English, then you'll know what I mean by the headline of this slide.
England fans are notoriously critical of their national side, perhaps more so than any other nation.
The reason's for it are simple enough. The players England have produced over the past 10 years just haven't lived up to their billing.
The so-called golden generation has seen the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Michael Owen, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand fail to lift a single trophy in their entire international tenure—which in turn has increased pressure on today's team.
Despite this, Hodgson's new-look England side has the opportunity to really impress this Friday. There are no great expectations and golden generation tags to shake off. It's just a team of Englishmen trying to do their best.
I think they will make England proud.
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