England finally ended their 12-game winless streak against Sweden last November and after deservedly holding France to a draw in their Euro 2012 opener, are they worthy favourites to add three points to their tally?
We’re not so sure. Yes, Sweden were poor defensively when losing to co-hosts Ukraine in Kiev having taken an early lead and yes they did look a little too reliant on talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But the stats still suggest the Swedes could cause the Three Lions plenty of problems.
Johan Elmander missed a golden chance to equalise late on for Sweden and he should get the nod to replace Markus Rosenborg as the Swede’s central striker, having fully recovered from injury. His partnership with Ibrahimovic has been key to Sweden’s success in the past six months and the duo are assisted by a very attack-minded midfield.
England created very little against a technically superior French team – attempting just five shots in the entire game – and Roy Hodgson has precious little attacking talent to work with while Wayne Rooney remains sidelined through suspension.
If you do think England can end their winless competitive record against the nation that gave us ABBA and Sven, then England to win 1-0 is worth considering. England have recorded that scoreline five times in their last eight games. And that record reads two-from-three under Roy Hodgson, whose organised approach can see England shut Sweden out.
But all things considered, a draw at 12/5 looks the value call with Stan James, a result which would leave both sides a chance of progressing from the group.
- England have only won seven of their 22 games against Sweden – and all of those victories came in friendly games.
- England have been under 2.5 goals in all three games under Roy Hodgson. :
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored in his last four consecutive games for Sweden.