by Tom Allen
England did just about OK in their Group D opener against France but will be
looking for three points on Friday versus Sweden.
Roy Hodgson's side thoroughly deserved their 1-1 draw, certainly after taking
the lead through Joleon Lescott's powerful header, but it will be interesting to
see how they cope when the onus is on the Three Lions to attack and I'm not sure
they will anywhere near as effective.
Hodgson has England fantastically well organised, and can call upon a
talented back five to stifle opponents, but without Wayne Rooney they lack
creativity and struggled going forward against the French.
With Scott Parker not fully fit and Steven Gerrard far removed the player of
old, England are short on legs in central midfield and at times there were large
gaps between that duo and Danny Welbeck who worked tirelessly up front on his
Welbeck actually performed with credit on his debut at a major tournament but
his goal scoring chances were limited to precisely zero and England required a
set-piece to break the deadlock.
England desperately need Rooney back in their ranks but the Manchester United
striker will remain suspended on the sidelines until the clash with Ukraine on
Tuesday and they might just have to settle for another stalemate in his
Ukraine themselves top the section after the first round of matches, thanks
to their 2-1 win over England's upcoming opponents, but the Scandinavians showed
enough to suggest they are far from finished with just yet and with Zlatan
Ibrahimovic in their ranks, anything is possible.
Ibra was excellent against the co-hosts, scoring in an impressive display,
but in Lescott and John Terry he will face a partnership that look well equipped
to deal with the AC Milan forward and these two sides could just cancel each
It's a game Sweden really need to win but they wouldn't quite be out of it
were they held and the 9/1 with Ladbrokes about this ending goalless is just too
I also expected the unders lines to be much closer to the 1/2 mark than the
8/11 available with Bet 365 and that is the main selection.
It's hard to imagine Hodgson changing too much tactically following the draw
with Les Bleus and a similar outcome looks on the cards to me.
3pts Back Under 2.50 Goals (Sweden vs. England) @ 8/11 (Bet
0.5pts Back 0-0 Correct Score (Sweden vs. England) @ 9/1 (Ladbrokes)