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England v Sweden preview

Friday 15th June – Group D

Kick-off 19:45 BST

England have to win this game to put their destiny in their own hands and not have to rely on the France v Sweden game on Tuesday.

Any England fan would have trembled when the final draw was made as they were again put in a group containing Sweden.

That is until November last year, when England finally broke the hoodoo and defeated the Swedes for the first time since 1968.

Andy Carroll looks like playing his first match in a major international tournament, with rumours coming from the England camp that he will be playing alongside Danny Welbeck at the top of a 4-4-2 formation.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose performance against France drew a lot praise, is set to be dropped to the bench to accomodate him, with Ashley Young and James Milner playing as wingers.

The motive behind this move is most likely that Sweden have proven themselves very inept at defending headers. Six of their previous seven goals conceded have all come from headers, including Andriy Shevchenko's brace when they faced Ukraine.

Tactical changes

Jonas Olsson and Johan Elmander (pictured) are both likely to be recalled for the Swedes as Erik Hamren looks to get his side scoring again. Elmander will be paired up front with the enigmatic striker that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

A good omen for England, for those of you who believe in superstition, is that while Sweden are unbeaten against the English in seven matches. No side has ever managed this in eight games.

The last three competitive games between England and Sweden have ended in a draw. This result wouldn't benefit either of the teams so they will both be going out to win.

Roy Hodgson will know all about the Swedish mindset having coached three different sides over there, winning seven league titles and is widely recognised as the man who brought zonal marking to Sweden. If anyone will know how to beat them, it will be him.

England's centre back pairing - likely to be Lescott and Terry again - will have their hands full dealing with Ibrahimovic, who at times is unplayable. However, this is where he comes into his own.

Players focus so much attention and energy on him that they forget to keep tabs on the other players. The one saving grace is that he doesn't have a good record scoring in or against England, having scored just once in five attempts.

Neither side will be under any illusions that this will be an easy game, and they both need to win, as a draw will effectively mean an early flight home.

By Peter Duke

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