UEFA Euro 2012
Please England – let’s win against Sweden for a change
It’s that time again. England are about to line up in a major tournament against Sweden. And surely it’s finally time for the Three Lions to record a victory. Our traumas against Swedish opposition down the years have been all too common. In fact, England’s failure to beat the Swedes goes all the way back to October 1988, where they recorded a 0-0 draw in a World Cup Qualifier. England have faced Sweden and failed to win on seven recent occasions, three of which occured at major tournaments in 1992, 2002 and 2006 respectively.
The 1992 affair was perhaps the one and sticks longest in the memory, particularly for all the England fans aged thirty or over. It was the night in Solna where Gary Lineker’s England career came to an end, being replaced shortly after half time by Alan Smith, when Lineker would surely have broken Bobby Charlton’s scoring record with a few more caps. England crashed to a 2-1 defeat in that game, with Thomas Brolin scoring the winning goal and Graham Taylor was hailed a Turnip.
Then came the 2002 clash at the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. You may not remember much about the game – I don’t! Sven from Sweden was in charge, and England drew 1-1; Sol Campbell opening the scoring. Niclas Alexandersson cancelled out the England lead.
Fast forward four years to 2006 and the Three Lions again came up against the Swedes, this time at the World Cup finals in Germany. The match in Cologne looked like it was England’s when Steven Gerrard bagged a header to put England 2-1 up in the 85th minute (after Joe Cole’s superb volley opened the scoring) but Swedish legend and former Celtic striker Henrik Larsson grabbed an equaliser just before full time to leave the English frustrated again.
So, will Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine be any different? Will England finally grab that elusive win they’ve been waiting for for over 20 years? The England line up is likely to be unchanged from the side that faced France in the Group D opener in Donetsk, and if they’re going to progress from Group D, it’s vital to secure a win over Sweden as the final group game is against hosts Ukraine (who have already beaten the Swedes). Roy Hodgson’s men will have to show slightly more going forward than they did against France, and hopefully Sweden will not be quite as handy in attack as the French were. If Lescott, Terry and Co can keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic at bay then England have a chance.
So PLEASE, please England – let’s win against Sweden for a change.