13th November 2012
With the amazing comeback against Germany further improving the atmosphere in the squad, Sweden will fancy their chances when they take on England at Friends Arena in Solna. The Three Lions are still unbeaten under Roy Hodgson, but the impressive run could be seriously tested in this match as a number of first team regulars miss out.
Sweden missed a great opportunity to reach Euro 2012 quarter-finals having had the lead against both Ukraine and England, and not even a win over France in final group game could see them qualify for the next stage. Erik Hamren was, nevertheless, allowed to continue his work, and this produced good results as the Nordic side went on to record back to back wins over Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands at the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign. However, it was 4-4 draw in Germany that can be seen as team’s biggest achievement in recent history, given that Sweden came from four goals down to earn a valuable point against one of the world’s strongest sides. Erik Hamren and his players are now eager to get the momentum going and plan to give their best in order to claim another major scalp. While star players Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Kim, Kallstrom and Sebastian Larsson have all received call-ups, inexperienced footballers such as Mathias Ranegie, Tobias Sana and Pontus Jansson will also get a chance to shine.
England did themselves proud with the showing at the Euro 2012 even if they crashed out in quarter-finals, while the team continued the rich vein of form into the new qualifying campaign. Five-star wins over Moldova and San Marino acted as decent confidence boost, although draws against Ukraine and Poland left a lot to be desired. The Three Lions now hope to return to winning ways before the qualifying campaign resumes in March, but beating Sweden away will be no easy task. Roy Hodgson has already had Wayne Rooney, Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, Jonjo Shelvey and Kyle Walker pull out because of injury, so he was certainly happy to see Steven Gerrard cleared to play after recovering from a knee problem. Wilfried Zaha and Carl Jenkinson have been added to the squad, while Jack Wilshire and Raheem Sterling are also in the mix.
Sweden have been in great form of late and there are no doubts they will be boosted by the impressive comeback against Germany. England go into this game on the back of a poor performance against Poland and hit by numerous withdrawals, so it looks as though their unbeaten run could finally come to an end.
Verdict: Sweden Draw no bet
Best Odds: 4/5
Bookmaker: Stan James