Day 8 - The EURO 2012 Crystal Ball
June 15, 2012 @ 00:00 am
It's time for the Group D teams to prove their worth not only on paper but also on the field.
Sweden v/s England:-
Sweden and England are both under enormous pressure heading into their Group D clash.
Neither managed a win in their opening match at Euro 2012, meaning that a victorious result in their second fixture is of great importance. For England, the match is an opportunity to build on the solid defense that they displayed against France and to keep their qualification aspirations on track.
For Sweden, the match is a do-or-die encounter, with anything but a win assuring them of elimination from the tournament next week.
The England manager, Roy Hodgson, is ready to hand a start to Andy Carroll as England aim to win their first match of Euro 2012 against Sweden, in Kiev. The Liverpool forward was overlooked in favour of Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck for the 1-1 draw with France, but the two could be set to pair-up against Sweden. Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker will stay in the centre of midfield having overcome exhaustion, while Wayne Rooney serves the last match of his two-game suspension. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss out, with Ashley Young moving onto the left flank and Milner retaining his place on the right side of the midfield.
Swedish players have been criticized over a training-ground game which also witnessed players taking turns to fire shots at goalkeeper Johan Wiland's exposed backside. A loss against England will certainly risk their chances of qualifying. In a Group including former champions France, co-hosts Ukraine and England, the Swedes clearly looked the better side, on paper, against the co-hosts but it can't get worse than conceding two goals in just seven minutes.
Shevchenko's double header cancelled out the Swedish captain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's opening goal. The AC Milan Striker has been playing in a more orthodox role to dictate Sweden's forward move. Coach Erik Hamren has the option of Johan Elmander, who played the last 10 minutes in the defeat, to play upfront with talisman, Ibrahimovic.
France v/s Ukraine:-
France believes they have everything in their own hands ahead of Friday's battle against Euro 2012 co-hosts, Ukraine. Laurent Blanc's men, who are unbeaten in 22 games, were held to a 1-1 draw by England in their opening clash, while Ukraine defeated Sweden.
And speaking before their next match, French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said destiny was in his team's hands, while reflecting on previous experiences, noting the side had come a long way since the 2010 World Cup.
The pairing of veteran duo Andriy Shevchenko and Andriy Voronin is expected to cause plenty of trouble for the French. Shevchenko bagged a double to lead Ukraine to a 2-1 win over Sweden. France dominated the midfield battle against England and the Swedish midfield need to be at their best to quell the influence of Samir Nasri and Frank Ribery.
Despite their opening victory, Ukraine are yet to beat France in any form of international football, with the 14th-ranked nation winning two of the previous three cups; it may just play on the mind of manager Oleh Blokhin.
Previous: Day 7 - The EURO 2012 Crystal Ball
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