England vs Sweden Euro 2012 betting preview
England Form: WLWWD
A solid, unspectacular draw with France has given England a decent start to their Euro 2012 campaign. Roy Hodgson has gone even further than Fabio Capello to make England hard to beat, with Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker holding deep in the midfield and working hard, and also James Milner running non-stop on the right side helping to protect the defence.
But that was against a very strong French side, and England will know they can expect more dominance against Sweden. Indeed, they were comfortable winners against them last November, a 1-0 score line belying the ease of the win with a rather weakened squad, compared to a strong Swedish line-up.
Danny Welbeck earned rave reviews for his willing running and movement up front in the opener, and if Ashley Young can find space to create behind him then Welbeck can pray on a defence who could not handle the 35 year-old Andriy Shevchenko on Monday.
Sweden: Form: WWWWL
The Swedes came into this group aware that their first game against co-hosts was more than likely a must win if they were to qualify, and the least they would need was a point. But they had nothing to compare to the Andriy Shevchenko story, and from a Ibrahimovic goal up they went down 2-1 losers.
Now they must look at games with England and France. And with the French unbeaten in 22 (and you would expect 23 by the time they face Sweden) it is looking like this game is a must win.
They did control much of the game against Ukraine, but could not contain the emotion and the determination of the home side. England are a much better side, and Sweden struggled to stop Ukraine when they got into the game, and only carved out chances late on in desperation.
As ever Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the key man. With his sides goal in that opening game he did try to carry them through. But as a player who likes to find space between midfield and defence and drifts in and out of games, England’s central midfield are set out to close down his space. Parker especially will snap away at him every time he drops deep. Aside from their captain Sweden looked devoid of ideas, and if Ibra is closed out of the game so, maybe, goes with him their chances of qualification.
Match Prediction: England Win – 2.2 Bet Victor
The Swedes are well within their rights to be optimistic coming into this match. They have never lost a competitive game to England, but their opening game defeat has certainly heaped pressure on them to up their performance here and take three points.
On paper England are definitely a better side, although they lack the striking class of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, he does tend to drift in and out of games, and has very rarely done much to impress English viewers. Welbeck is also looking perfectly at home leading England’s line, so much so that it is expected Wayne Rooney will return in the deeper role behind him against Ukraine.
The service from the wings is likely to be important. England showed their aerial prowess with their goal against the French, a wonderfully delivered Steven Gerrard free kick that Joleon Lescott was more than happy to head home. On top of that, six of the last seven goals Sweden have conceded were headers. Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ashley Young in particular could find their delivery a key aspect of the game.
England and their hard working team may well play off Sweden’s desperate need for points, and will be as comfortable on the front foot against them as they will using their pace on the counter. Welbeck’s movement is also likely to cause trouble to the slow Swedish defence, and first goal scorer bets should be split between his ability to find space and the two central defenders, Terry and Lescott, getting forward to head home.
Over/Under: Under 2.5 Goals – 1.7 Bet Victor
First Goalscorer: John Terry – 26.00 Ladbrokes
Correct Score: 2-0 England – 11.00 Paddy Power
England – 2.2 Bet Victor
Draw – 3.4 Stan James
Sweden – 4.00 Stan James