Thursday, 14 June 2012

A Method to the Madness , Please....

The Euro 2012 championship comes alive in Kiev , the Capital  city of  Co-hosts Ukraine , as England face Sweden in the Olympic Stadium on Friday, june 15th . It is imperative for the ambitions of these two countries  to win this football match . A draw is of not much use to either side , particularly because, I sense there would be a winner from the other game in the group between Ukraine and France .  England, France , and Sweden are on a hiding to nothing ,  they have to go all out for 3 points in their respective games .
From an England Perspective , it represents the chance to lay down another plank in the rebuilding process , just that on this occasion , they have to show their true colours ;  If they do not win this game ,  you bet , Roy Hodgson and his troops shall be facing familiar demons .

FAMILIARITY OR SIMILARITY :  The Swedes have a history of Stone - walling England . This is in part due to their familiarity of English Soccer and Culture .  Scores of Swedish footballers have done well at clubs in the premier league  over the years , and their  high success  levels  is no  coincidence . Swedish players tend to be of the same genre as the  English ones , loosely speaking - efficient , gutsy , and unspectacular .  It means they hardly walk into games against England with an inferiority complex . England  on the other hand feel pretty comfortable with that likeness, as they don't with  technically more sophisticated adversaries . Not surprising why  quite a lot of the games between the two end in draws .

THE OPTICS ON ENGLAND ;  It's a paradox for Roy Hodgson , I bet he would have never envisaged Sweden , a country where he had a lot of Success at Club football management to be the opposition on the day his nascent England career reaches perhaps , tipping point . The honeymoon he has enjoyed since his appointment in May would be transcended if a victory happens .  England would need to play a lot better to win this game ; i doubt an iffy showing would suffice .  The defense was alright against France  who did not play with a striker of the calibre of  Zlatan Ibrahimovic . This time around , it faces potentially a tougher test from Sweden's Mercurial  number 10 .  Conversely,  I  expect  Gerrard , Parker , and Milner to be more comfortable on the ball  in Midfield , given that Sweden would lean towards territorial concession ,  and retreat into a counter-attacking shape,  not necessarily closing England down higher up the pitch, rather a deep laying-in- wait version .
The question is with more of the ball in midfield as i hypothesize , what would be the method of conveyance Mr. Hodgson adopts . I reckon Jermain Defoe would be apposite in a tight game like this - his mobility  and natural penalty box instincts is a prerequisite on such a setting . It would make sense to pair him with Danny wellbeck . If Oxlade Chamberlain , Steven Gerrard , and the aforementioned Wellbeck do business at the supply end , and England find the gears to  force the issue methodically , certainly the potential for a triumph in Kiev is real .

THE SWEDISH VERSION : Underestimate them at your peril..... Not When they have Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is a match-winner , and often the difference  between any two teams . If he is in the mood and in his element , he can make and score goals  incredibly . He is a striker of vast all-round talent.  I believe they were slightly unlucky to lose to Ukraine in their first game after taking the lead . Sweden are a competent team . Olof Mellberg is key in central defense ;  Sebastian Larrson is a handful -  invigorating , and bristling with appetite on the right of midifield ; and Johan Elmander has a good knowledge of England's Players , as well as Jonas Olson who played under the England manager at West Brom . The other big advantage they have is that they are hardly under pressure when they face England .  This gives them so much of an incentive to perform .

A CLOSE CALL :  I am almost certain these two sides would not possess sufficient attacking dynamism to lift this contest beyond the fringes of another turgid spectacle . It is that inherent pathological disposition that sways me strongly towards anticipating another draw .  The beauty of the game is that it's not science , and i may just be left eating my words graciously in the end . Can this blog be posted in both sets of dressing rooms . Ah ! now that could be a stimulus....

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