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Euro 2012 Group D preview: Sweden v England

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Jun 2012

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Danny Welbeck is keen for his England team-mates to use their performance against France as a platform when they face Sweden on Friday.

England earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with France in their opening Euro 2012 Group D clash and the Manchester United striker has called for further improvement.

“I think the France game, as a start for us, we set out our platform. We really want to build on that from now on. I think we can improve a lot more,” Welbeck said.

“Looking at it from a neutral point of view it will be a fine game to watch. Once the game is opened up, there will be a few goalscoring opportunities carved out.”

Roy Hodgson’s side welcome back talisman Wayne Rooney at the conclusion of Friday’s match at Kiev Olympic Stadium but there are doubts regarding the fitness of a number of players.

Ashley Cole, who has an ongoing ankle problem, failed to complete a full training session in a bid to ensure he is fit for Sweden, Martin Kelly missed another full training session as he battles against a virus, while experienced midfielder Scott Parker has vowed to play through the pain barrier despite carrying an Achilles injury.

Sweden suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of Ukraine in their opening match and will be looking to regroup.

Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic found the target and showed why he is one of the world’s best players but will need his team-mates to lift and show solidarity if they are any chance of producing a result.

Unity within the Scandinavians’ dressing room has been a hot topic, following reports Ibrahimovic showed his displeasure at several of his team-mates for meeting their wives after the game but it’s a rumour midfielder Anders Svensson has since denied.

England are yet to beat Sweden in a competitive fixture and the last time these two nations met at a European Championship, Sweden hosted the event in 1992.

The tournament hosts scored two second-half goals to overcome England 2-1 and advance to the knockout stages, leaving their opponents winless and bottom of the table.

However, their most recent result was a 1-0 England win in a friendly staged on November 16, 2011, courtesy of a Gareth Barry goal.

Weather may play a part in the fixture but the heat will be on both sides.

A Swedish loss would put them on the verge of elimination, while failure for England would set up a possible must-win encounter with Ukraine in their final group game.

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