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Euro 2012: England vs. Sweden

Sweden vs. England. Roy Hodgson meet the country where he’s a tactical godfather. Zlatan Ibrahimovic meets the country that refuses to acknowledge his greatness (and has no trouble making sweeping judgements about leagues they don’t watch). The match will be delayed 15 minutes to avoid a conflict for television with the delayed Urkaine vs. France match. It’s good to wear the pants.

The result was not the only thing that went bottoms up for Sweden the past week. Coach Erik Hamren did not call his team “cowards” for their Ukraine performance, but might as well have. They looked lethargic and, with a size and skill advantage, should have done better in open play and on set pieces. They will need a better effort to compete with England, though it’s quite conceivable they will get it. With France’s win over the Ukraine, Sweden must at least draw this match to advance.

England drew 1-1 with France. The draw was true to form, though the method was quite different. Hodgson’s Three Lions side entered the match with a game plan, to frustrate France with two banks of defenders and hit on the counter attack. For the most part, they executed it. England’s play was rigid and unadorned, but it fit Hodgson’s squad – strong at the back, short on deliberation and technique, high on athleticism and verve – perfectly. English fans and pundits won’t be happy, but then they never are.

Andy Carroll will start up front with Danny Welbeck in the hole. Ashley Young will replace Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain on the wing. This will be interesting, if nothing else. The Ox is likely better as an impact sub at this early stage of his career.

[Photo via Getty]

 

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