Wazza’s hair transplant looks very awkward now that he has buzzed the sides. That’s all I need to say about the lead-in to the game. That and the fact that Ibra looks like I’d imagine Atilla would look like if he was a Samurai.
Why England will win
- Sweden lacks the pace, especially on defense, to keep up with the England counter attack. Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott and Welbeck will be too quick for the Swedes, especially Melberg and Granqvist.
- As result of the reserve goalie’s butt on YouTube, Ibrahimovic’s blasting of his teammates and the starting lineup, and the giving up of a lead to two goals from one of the oldest players to ever score two goals in a major international tournament, Sweden does not have the best mindset going into this game.
- Terry and Lescott can frustrate Ibrahimovic up front. Ibra typically does not like playing against big defenders on EPL teams and the England lineup with its defensive setup should be even more difficult for the big Swede. Elmander could help him if he is inserted in the starting lineup, but I just don’t see him making much difference. England is well aware of him from his time at Bolton.
- Hodgson’s tactics are perfect against an aggressive Sweden who has to win this match if they are to hold out hope of qualifying for the next stage.
Why Sweden will win
- Scott Parker may not be able to play, or if he does, his Achilles problem will hinder his effort. Gerrard didn’t have a great game. Is there anyone left in England’s midfield who can adequately clog up the middle – and please don’t say Jordan Henderson can do that job?
- England didn’t really generate any meaningful chances against France apart from the open net miss by Milner and the goal Lescott scored. They will have to do better against Sweden if they hope to take anything away from this game. Sweden will score against England and they are big enough to withstand dead ball situations when England will look to have Terry and Lescott try to nick one.
- Ibrahimovic will back up his anger and bluster and supreme self confidence now that he has put his team and managers on blast. There will be no “cowards” or lack of effort from Sweden.
Pre-game prediction: England 1 Sweden 1
England will accept getting a point and leaving it up to Rooney in the last game to take them to the next round with a win over Ukraine. That said, a bonus for winning the group is not having to probably play Spain in the next round. Much easier to deal with Italy or Croatia. Anyway, we get ahead of ourselves. Welbeck or Gerrard (penalty) to score for England and Sebastian Larsson to score for Sweden on a free kick.