A new week of Euro 2012 begins with the end of the second round of group matches, with the co-hosts will try and show that their good start was not because of weak opposition. In short – Ukraine taking on France. England will probably be a bit more attacking in a match against Sweden, who they rarely beat.
Ukraine – France
France can only hope that the Ukraine won’t be as rigid and closed and England were in the opening match to Group D four days ago. They couldn’t find enough space to make repeated attempts at Jose Hart, and when they did, there was no one on a vacant right wing to supply the passes to. The co-hosts had a wonderful start against Sweden and will surely be coming confident and enthusiastic, no matter the opposition.
It’s not about how Andriy Shevchenko shows up. It’s about how the little bee workers – Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka on the wings, while France will need a bit sharper version of Karim Benzema on the field. Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri, all in all, had a good performance against England, but they need their star striker to be a bit more mobile and accurate.
Sweden – France
Will Roy Hodgson open up a bit? Will he start Andy Carroll? Should he start Andy Carroll? The two teams met at Wembley last November, with England getting their first win over Sweden since 1968, 1-0. People weren’t impressed with how they played against France, but they got the result they came for, and finals tournaments are about the results, later allowing a more open kind of match.
Sweden were rather shocked by how bad they played and looked in the first match. They still had a chance to avoid the loss with a huge miss from Johan Elmander in the final seconds. Again, somewhat like Poland, the team needs to find a way and not just try and work Zlatan Ibrahimovic. For England, it’s about actually finding something that works.
Predictions – There’s something about this Ukraine team and the way they play that might overwhelm a slightly complacent and arrogant French side. If France can get to their regular game early on, they should come out as the winners. England and Sweden always has a draw written all over it, but the “attacking” Swedish side seems to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic and not much else. England should win this.
Game Times – Ukraine take on France in Donetsk on 18:00, while Sweden play with England in Kiev at 20:45.