All change for endangered Sweden for can’t-lose clash with England

Sweden will be eliminated for Euro 2012 if they lose to England on Friday night and have attempted to avoid such a disaster by bringing in three players who didn’t start the costly 2-1 defeat to co-hosts Ukraine.

The most high-profile change sees former Bolton forward Johan Elmander, who wasn’t fit enough to manage any more than a 19-minute cameo in that game, replace the ineffective Markus Rosenborg as the furthest Swede forward.

The 31-year-old is a bit of a figure of fun in England because of his lack of prolificacy during three seasons at the Reebok Stadium, a reputation that his disappointing late miss against Ukraine won’t have helped eradicate.

However, with the emerging John Guidetti missing the tournament because of injury, Elmander is judged the best person in the squad for the position, given captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s preference for playing as a number ten for his country.

The other alterations made by Erik Hamren in preparation of facing England are to introduce West Brom defender Jonas Olsson, perhaps perceived to have the inside line of Roy Hodgson strategies, and veteran midfielder Anders Svensson in place of Mikael Lustig and Ola Toivonen.

As those are not like-for-like switches, they in turn force further tweaks, with Andreas Granqvist likely to move to right back to accommodate Olsson in the middle.

Svensson will displace Rasmus Elm as one of the two sitting midfielders, prompting the latter to join Ibrahimovic and Sebastian Larsson in the trio supporting Elmander, who despite being the most advanced Swede is 11/1 to score first.

Though they have never lost a competitive match against England in their history, Sweden are the outsiders at 12/5, albeit with their reputation for scuppering the Three Lions enough to push Hodgson’s men past evens at 13/10 to triumph.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.


Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.