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International friendly preview: Sweden v England

England will be looking to finish the year on a high when they travel to Sweden for an international friendly on Wednesday.

Roy Hodgson’s side have enjoyed a successful 2012, despite crashing out at the quarter-final stage of the European Championships in June to Italy.

England have been beaten just once in regular time this year and that was way back in February when they lost 3-2 to Holland in a friendly at Wembley.

Despite their recent unbeaten run, England fans still won’t be confident that their team has done enough to ensure direct qualification for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

England are on top of their qualifying group with eight points, but Montenegro sit one point behind and have the luxury of a game in hand.

That is why England fans will be hoping for a good performance from their side in Stockholm.

Sweden have a battle on their hands to get through their qualifying group, with powerhouse Germany currently three points ahead of them.

The Swedes do have a game in hand on the Germans, however, but may still have to rely on getting through to the World Cup finals via the qualification play-offs.

England had not beaten Sweden for 43 years before their 1-0 win at Wembley last November, and they followed that success with a 3-2 triumph in the group stages of the European Championships in June.

Andy Carroll, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck were on target for England that night in Kiev, but only one of those players is likely to be action this time around.

Carroll is out of favour with Hodgson, while Walcott was forced out of the squad earlier this week through injury.

Wayne Rooney, Jonjo Shelvey, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon have also withdrawn from the squad, leaving Hodgson with what should be a youthful looking side.

Crystal Palace ace Wilfried Zaha and Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson are all expected to feature, while Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone is also in the squad.

And we should see some goals on Wednesday in the opening of the new Friends Arena in Stockholm, given Sweden scored four times in their most recent international – a 4-4 draw with Germany.

Tue 13 November, 2012
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