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Euro Cup 2012 Free Picks – Sweden vs. England Lines + Predictions

Sweden vs. England Euro Cup 2012 Betting Picks + Odds

Two sides that have a deep history of playing tightly contested matches will square off in a second Group D clash, as Sweden takes on England on Friday with three crucial points on the line.

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When: Friday, June 15, 2012 at 2:30 PM EST
Where: Olympic Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine
TV: ESPN 3
Line: Sweden, (+222), England -0.5 (+108), Draw (+213)

England finally tasted victory for the first time in 43 years against Sweden back in a November friendly, but has yet to beat the Swedes competitively since 1968–a 3-1 win at Wembley Stadium.

The Scandinavians have never lost a competitive game against the English with their seven previous encounters with the teams’ last three competitive match-ups all producing draws.

However, the Swedes looked a bit stunned after their 2-1 opening match loss to Ukraine, so it’s possible that England will find a psychologically beaten side that could help end their cause.

Already a below-average side, the Swedes failed to use their one above-average weapon in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Opting to use Ibrahimovic as a defensive midfielder, dropping back to deliver the short pass to an inefficient Christian Wilhelmson and Johan Elmander who could not find the back of the Ukraine net.

Still, Sweden’s lone goal did eventually come from Ibrahimovic, who spent most of his playing time too far from goal to be any more of a sustained threat.

Unfortunately, he will likely find himself in a similar role against England, as Sweden will face a relentless English attack, which was able to secure their first point in tournament play with a 1-1 draw with France on Monday. [ad-3678122]

Considering England was without star striker Wayne Rooney, the result was encouraging, with youngsters Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck providing the offensive attack for boss Roy Hodgson’s side.

The entire team worked well, and veteran leader Steven Gerrard was the key player as he dictated play with his direct long balls.
That’s all a spot of good news, as Rooney will serve the last of his two-match ban on Friday, before returning to the side for England’s final group D game against Ukraine next week.

For this one, though, Hodgson will hope plan B works well again.

Hodgson also hopes that his understanding of the Swedes game plan can help him, as he managed Swedish club sides Orebro and Malmo earlier in his career.

Matt’s Free Pick– England, 1-0– The Swedes have not utilized Ibrahimovic enough, and they need to win here if they want to qualify for the knock-out round. Nevertheless, England will be equally determined to take the points, as they hope to clinch their bid for the final rounds before they must face a dangerous Ukraine side.

I expect Ibrahimovic to be more of a factor in this one for Sweden, but imagine Hodgson is clever enough to mark the best striker in the world, letting Sweden try to dictate play without their main man.

Unless by some miracle, an English victory should be expected.

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