Sweden v England (Euro 2012 Group D, June 15, 2012)
The second stage of Euro 2012 comes to a close in Kiev on Friday night as both Sweden and England look to put their first win of the tournament on the board.
The fact France play Ukraine earlier means both Les Bleus and the Three Lions will be fully aware of what they have to do but judging by their opening performances it could be a game lacking genuine attacking quality.
Sweden do at least have their talisman and best player on the pitch. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is priced at 11/4 to score at any time and after notching against Ukraine and also hitting the post, the AC Milan striker surely has a good chance of netting against England.
Roy Hodgson looks set to name a similar side to the one that drew with France but this time England may have more of the ball and could have to force the issue. Without Wayne Rooney for the second and final time at Euro 2012, the likes of Danny Welbeck (6/1 first goal scorer) and Ashley Young (10/1 to score two or more goals) will have to produce.
Hodgson could mix things up a little with perhaps Theo Walcott, Andy Carroll (13/2 first goal scorer) or Jermain Defoe starting. Having started his managerial career in Sweden this could be a game suited to Woy’s tactical strengths.
Expect two banks of four from the Three Lions and they will take heart from the two headed goals conceded by Sweden to Andriy Shevchenko as well as the propensity for this type of goal at the competition so far.
The Swedes took a bashing in the media after their loss to Ukraine. Erik Hamren could well shuffle his pack with Ola Toivonen or Johan Elmander pushing for a start, despite the latter’s late miss. Mikael Lustig will also cling to his post on corners after his individual ridiculing after the opener.
Having collapsed so weakly against the co-hosts, Sweden will be expected to show some fire and Anders Svensson (25/1 first goal scorer) has already been shooting his mouth off: “I just think maybe you think you are a little bit better than you are and we are a little bit better than you think we are.”
Plus of course, Sweden have an excellent competition record against England, going unbeaten for seven matches now. And if you do back the Scandinavians it is worth considering that you will get some excellent odds from the English bookies – e.g. England half-time/Sweden full time is 33/1.
101gg predicts: England 1- Sweden 0 (6/1).
Supplementary tip: England conceded 11 corners to France in their opening game. Would be no surprise to see Sweden win the corner count – 6-4 with William Hill.