England were defeated 4-2 by Sweden in a friendly last night courtesy of a virtuoso performance from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored four times for the home side in the inaugural game for the Scandinavians new national stadium.
Despite the defeat England boss Roy Hodgson will take positives from the game.
England were leading 2-1 with less than 15 minutes remaining.
The substitutions made unsettled the England team and Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick in the last 13 minutes; two of his goals were truly world-class.
Prior to the changes England looked comfortable. A much changed team lacking first regulars had enjoyed a decent performance and looked like they were heading for a comfortable victory. That was before Ibrahimovic’s fantastic hat-trick.
Youngsters Raheem Sterling and Steven Caulker made their debuts against the Swedes with varying success. Sterling wasn’t in the game much, but will have gained valuable experience for the future. He still must decide whether he wants to play for England at international level, or Jamaica.
I have to say I was really impressed by Caulker’s performance at the back, despite him losing Ibrahimovic for Swede’s first goal. Caulker was good at the back and even scored England’s second goal.
Caulker was impressive for Swansea on-loan last season and he has continued that good form this season for Spurs. The youngster has been that impressive that he has cemented a regular first team place in the heart of the Spurs defence this season.
Everton midfielder Leon Osman also made his debut for the Three Lions. The 31 year-old grasped his opportunity with both hands. The midfielder never looked out of place and was neat and tidy on the ball.
The midfielder has been excellent for Everton this season and deserved his call-up. He may not be considered a regular starter for England in future games, but he certainly has done his chances of being selected in the future squads no harm.
He is a player that gives his all and has good feet. He also has a clever football brain and is underrated. He could prove a useful asset to Roy Hodgson.
The England team is currently in a transitional period. Roy Hodgson is still trying to establish a squad of players capable of challenging the best in the world. Hodgson picked a very inexperienced squad of players to face Sweden.
Hodgson knows that he needs to introduce new players into squad, so that England can move forward. A generation of players are coming to the end of their international careers and Hodgson has to find replacements.
The introduction of young players such as Caulker, Sterling and Wilfried Zaha could be the key to success in the future, that’s if the likes of Zaha and Sterling decide to represent the Three Lions at international level.
There has been lots of doom and gloom surrounding the England setup in recent years and months. However, there are some rays of light in the dark for England fans. Roy Hodgson does have some talented young players available to him.
I think there are a few positives to take from the defeat in Sweden’s new national stadium. Considering the number of changes that were made from the team that drew with Poland in their last international outing, the performance was a decent one.
Some friendly matches are pointless and have no meaning. Managers learn nothing from those friendlies. However, this game will be have given Roy Hodgson some real insights to some of his fringe players and that can only be useful for the future.
Can England take positives from Sweden defeat?