England v Sweden: A Swede On Why Liverpool's Carroll Is The Player They Fear Most
The atmosphere in the squad the day after shock defeat to Ukraine was subdued. The usually so jolly and happy Erik Hamrén almost looked like he lost a close relative when he declared himself to the assembled press corps. After having mourned the loss one day, it is time to roll up our sleeves and start preparing for the meeting with arch-enemy England.
Should we have any chance against England we need to find our way back to the basics of Erik Hamrens football philosophy. What was cowardly and passive against Ukraine must be brave and aggressive against The Three Lions. The Swedes also have an ability to rise when we play against England. Not a single defeat in a competitive match since 1968 (defeat in a training match at Wembley last fall, does not concern us) is a fact that should scare the crap out of all Englishmen.
We Swedes are wondering whether Sweden-lover Roy Hodgson will continue to choose Danny Welbeck as a lone striker or go for Andy Carroll. We hope that the Manchester United striker will retain in this position, because Liverpool's monster could cause great confusion in the somewhat muddled Swedish defence. Furthermore, right now we are not good at dealing with crosses. Three corner goals against us in the last three games are purely worthless. And England are usually good at set pieces, as we saw particularly against France.
The Swedish hope is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has the day of his life. The super Swede is - and always has been - horribly underrated by the English media corps. In other words, a golden opportunity for Zlatan to plug the mouth of his detractors for good. We also hope that Johan Elmander is healthy enough to start the game. His constant running can create disorder in the English defense, which may give Zlatan the space he needs to create opportunities.
Not a single defeat in a competitive match since 1968 (defeat in a training match at Wembley last fall, does not concern us) is a fact that should scare the crap out of all Englishmen.
Another Premier League acquaintance may get a chance in the central midfield. The former Southampton player Anders Svensson was somewhat unexpectedly left out of the starting eleven against Ukraine, but looked sharp the minutes he played. Against England, his experience will be needed and he'll get the chance from the start at Ola Toivonen's expense. This means that the set piece specialist Rasmus Elm is moving forward one position in the field.
Anyone who expects a lively and cheerful match will probably be disappointed. Roy Hodgson is not a big fan of sexy football and Sweden will be very careful in the beginning of the match. Given that it'll be a team full of revenge lust, it would not surprise me if it's the blue and yellow warriors who will have a lot of possession. I doubt it is enough to snatch all of the three points. I'm quite convinced that it will be a 1-1 draw. I would dare to risk a four-digit sum without hesitation.
Good luck, but not too much. On Saturday morning you will all regret all the crap thrown at Zlatan Ibrahimovic over the years ...
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