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Euro 2012: What England Need to Do to Beat Sweden

Posted on the 15 June 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Is Roy Hodgson the best man for the England football managerial job?

Football manager Roy Hodgson. Photo credit: ajlisss

The background

England’s cagey 1-1 draw in their opening Euro 2012 game against group favorites France means they are on track to qualify. The Three Lions lock horns tonight with Sweden, who lost  2-1 in their opener against joint hosts Ukraine. Most of the sports commentariat are encouraging manager Roy Hodgson to adopt a more attacking mindset against the Swedes, who looked defensively vulnerable last time out.

Negative England must trust more in their ability

“While it’s good to start with a point against tough opponents like France, I did not like the way England played,” sniped ex-Germany international Michael Ballack at The Times (£). “I expect more from England. The way they played is not good for football and they were far too defensive, which is frustrating as they have enough quality in the side to play attractive football. They didn’t park one bus, they parked three buses!” Going forwards, Ballack insisted that England must “be more positive … England’s players need to have trust in their own ability and that of their team-mates.”

“When you compare tonight’s teams, England have more quality, but they have to step up and put more pressure on their opponents. If they want to go through as group winners they have to win the game, and if they show more ambition I believe they will,” wrote Michael Ballack at The Times (£)

Young must do better than he did versus France

Writing at The Telegraph, BBC pundit Alan Hansen said that Ashley Young must offer more if he is selected again in the Wayne Rooney in the hole role: “he has to get into the game and assert himself more. He needs to show that he wants the ball and impose himself on the occasion because there were too many spells against France when you just didn’t see him.” Young “is a big-time player,” said Hansen, “he plays for Manchester United and is accustomed to all that comes with that, so he needs to show he is not overawed by his role and go out there with the mentality that he is going to prove to everybody that he is worth his place in the team.”

Parker must shut down danger man Ibrahimovic

Writing at The Telegraph, ex-Arsenal stalwart Alan Smith identified stopping Sweden’s talismanic front man Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the key requirement. “In his new role off the front man, Ibrahimovic requires very close attention,” warned Smith. “He is someone who can turn the game in an instant with his fearsome strength, silky control and thunderous shot. (Scott) Parker can not afford to get involved in a physical scrap because there will be only one winner. Instead, England’s anchorman must try to play it clever by cutting off Ibrahimovic’s supply line through sound positioning and good anticipation.”

Sweden can be opened up quite easily

“One major source of encouragement for England should be how easily Ukraine opened Sweden up,” suggested Stuart James at The Guardian Sport blog. “Sweden were overrun in midfield for much of the first half and hanging on at the back at times, with only Ukraine’s profligacy sparing them in the opening 45 minutes.” James insisted that “it is easy to imagine Danny Welbeck having some joy against Mellberg and Granqvist. Shevchenko is hardly Usain Bolt but a simple give-and-go in the first half enabled him to get away from Mellberg, who will be 35 in September, and he should have done better with the shot that he dragged across the face of the goal.”

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