Sweden vs. England: Key Matchups in Crucial Group D Clash

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2012

DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 11: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England looks on during the UEFA EURO 2012 group D match between France and England at Donbass Arena on June 11, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

England played the exact game it wanted to play against France in its Group D opener, but now it'll have to change its tactics.

Sweden is another attacking force, but the Three Lions can't just come away with one point in this clash of styles.

England is still without Wayne Rooney, and it's  likely to feature the same young attacking trio it did against France, but it'll need more help.

The Swedes, meanwhile, will continue to push, as they know one point does them almost nothing after their loss to Ukraine, and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic anything is possible.

England has not fared well against Sweden in major competitions, so with that in mind, let's take a look at the key matchups in today's Group D showdown.


John Terry, England vs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden beats John Terry of England to the ball during the international friendly match between England and Sweden at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Gett
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Terry is no longer wearing the captain armband for England, but the Three Lions still look to him to control things in the back. Zlatan does captain his side and is the most dangerous player in the pitch.

At any given time the AC Milan star can change the course of a game.

It will be on Terry, who starts alongside Joleon Lescott because of an injury to Terry's Chelsea teammate Gary Cahill, to keep Zlatan in check.


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, England vs. Sweden back line

The only truly exciting player in the English side right now, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is all of 18 years old and making big noise here. He didn't score and didn't get as many touches as he should've, but he's a dangerous threat to shake things up for England.

The Arsenal man is expected to star along with Manchester United stars Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young once again, and it will be on them to create opportunities in the counter attack.

DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 11:  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of England is closed down by Yohan Cabaye and Samir Nasri of France during the UEFA EURO 2012 group D match between France and England at Donbass Arena on June 11, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine.  (Photo by J
Julian Finney/Getty Images

We want to believe manager Roy Hodgson will push a bit more in this contest, but the fact that the English have conceded only one goal in his three games as boss has given him reason to keep to his style.

England only put one shot on net against France and will need to do better in this one, so it will be interesting to see how much it looks to work Ox early in this match.


England midfield vs. Sweden midfield

The Three Lions were out-possessed 60-40 against France, and Sweden was slightly out-possessed by Ukraine, 53-47.

These two sides will try wholeheartedly to battle with the long ball and counter attacks, but somebody has to control the midfield at some point.

England has Steven Gerrard in the middle, and he can get the job done, but he needs to be allowed to move up the pitch a bit more.

The midfield, or lack of midfield, will play a huge role in this match.