Euro 2012: 6 Areas England Can Improve on Against Sweden

Peter Webster@@petercwebsterContributor IIIJune 12, 2016

Euro 2012: 6 Areas England Can Improve on Against Sweden

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    England started their Euro 2012 Group D campaign with a tough 1-1 draw against Laurent Blanc's French side.

    Next up for the Three Lions are Sweden, a team that England have never beaten in a competitive match...ever.

    Whilst the idea of winning is delusional to some, there are certainly areas in which England can look to improve—here are six of them.

Generate More Chances

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    England made very few clear-cut chances against France in their opening game, and thus need to be more creative against Sweden without risking all-out suicide.

    With players such as Steven Gerrard, Ashley Young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the team, England should be far more dangerous than their performance suggested last time out.

    Look for Hodgson to play much different tactics to those deployed against the French.

Be More Clinical

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    When chances aren't being created by the dozen, being clinical becomes so much more important.

    James Milner was guilty of the biggest miss of the tournament so far, having rounded Hugo Lloris of France only to skewer his shot wide and into the stands with his weaker foot.

    England cannot afford to miss chances similar to that one if they expect to go much further in the competition.

    The likes of Ibrahimovic will not be so forgiving when faced with an open net.

Relieve Pressure by Pushing Up the Pitch

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    Whilst England was defensively solid against France, they were still far too deep whenever the ball was lost.

    Sitting deep invites pressure onto the team and makes it difficult for a lone striker such as Danny Welbeck to be effective.

    Hodgson seemed to have addressed this in the beginning of England's second half against France, but as time wore on, the players retreated and retreated before being back to the positions they took up in the first half.

    John Terry needs to marshal the defence and make it clear that it can't be allowed to keep happening.

Close Down Players Quicker

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    England seemed far too relaxed whenever a French player had the ball within 20-30 yards of Joe Hart's goal.

    Whilst allowing a poorly placed domestic league team to have pot shots at your goal is one thing, it's quite another when you're playing against the best collectives of a nation—the French nation no less.

    Samir Nasri's equalising strike should have been closed down a lot earlier than it was, with only Steven Gerrard rushing to try and extinguish the wildly apparent danger.

    England ultimately paid the price for that oversight, but closing down players needs to happen quicker and higher up the pitch against Sweden.

More Width in Attack

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    With Ashley Young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the field against France you could be forgiven for expecting more wingplay by England.

    In the end it was James Milner who occupied the right side of midfield, and he was largely ineffectual going forward.

    With natural pace in the squad through Young, Downing, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain, England need to promote more width in their attacks in order to really get at the Swedish defense.

    Not only will it allow players to get in behind, it will stretch the Swedish team and give more room for Gerrard to be more effective in the middle.

Believe in Their Ability

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    Too long have England gone into tournaments with the weight of the nation on their shoulders.

    Hodgson's relatively fresh looking England side has to have faith in their superior footballing ability over that of their counterparts.

    England never looked as though they were going to beat France once Samir Nasri had scored his equaliser, and that is a demoralising prospect for any nation to endure.

    Belief is paramount to any ideas of grandeur.


    How do you think England will fare against Sweden? What tactical decisions should Roy Hodgson promote? Leave your comments below and be sure to follow me on Twitter @petercwebster.