Social Match Preview - Sweden v England: England are slight favourites against bogey team
England will be hoping to build on a solid opening draw with France when they take on Sweden in Kiev tonight. Roy Hodgson’s side know that it will be tough having never beaten the Swedes in a competitive match but will be confident of bringing that run to an end.
Sweden were stunned by Shevchenko’s double in a 2-1 defeat to hosts Ukraine in their first game and know that a loss tonight would see them dumped out of the competition.
The big selection news for England centres around that troublesome striker’s position as Wayne Rooney serves the last game of his ban. Danny Welbeck acquitted himself well against the French but it looks as though Liverpool target man Andy Carroll will be recalled to the starting line-up this evening.
This could mean that Welbeck will have to settle for a place on the subs bench but it is rumoured that Hodgson could pick both in a more orthodox 4-4-2 as his side look to score the goals that would clinch a crucial win. Should this be the case it is likely that the unlucky Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would miss out with Ashley Young would switch to the left wing to accommodate the two strikers.
In terms of injury news Glen Johnson is expected to be passed fit despite being on antibiotics for a toe injury. His club mate Martin Kelly is expected to miss out again with a virus while Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard have recovered from exhaustion.
Sweden head coach Erik Hamren is expected to recall Jonas Olsson at centre-back, meaning that Andreas Granqvist will move to right-back. He is also set to pick Johan Elmander over Markus Rosenberg after the latter’s ineffective performance against the Ukraine in the first game.
Hamren is also sweating over the fitness of star man and captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic but he is expected to play.
Roy Hodgson’s ugly but effective tactics against France have gained mixed reviews this week and he knows that Sweden will certainly be no pushovers tonight.
"They are organised as a result of years of work based on English coaching," he said in an interview with the BBC.
"Their major weapon is Ibrahimovic - he is one of the best strikers in European football."
Captain Steven Gerrard has also spoken to the BBC ahead of the game, saying that a win would be the perfect way to welcome Wayne Rooney back to the starting 11.
"Wayne adds an awful lot of quality and skill to this team," said Gerrard.
"If we can get a good win on Friday then get him back fit and raring to go, it is only going to improve things."
The main consensus on Twitter is that England are favourites for tonight’s game with many predicting a comfortable win.
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright tweeted his prediction: “3-1 to England tonight. Welbeck, Young and Walcott. COE!”
Cricket legend Shane Warne also believed England are favourites. “Fancy and England win today. France and Ukraine to draw…England to top Group D!”
Sky Sports presenter Charlotte Jackson was also in positive mood ahead of tonight’s game. “Tonight…score predictions – I’m feeling optimistic and despite past results against Sweden, Im going 2 nil England!”
• England have never beaten Sweden in a competitive match BUT no nation has ever gone eight games unbeaten against England.
• The last time England scored more than one goal in a match at a major tournament was against Sweden in 2006 in a 2-2 draw.
• Four of the last six meetings have ended level…expect a draw!