England v Sweden: Recent head-to-head encounters
England play familiar foes Sweden this Wednesday in Stockholm as the two nations take a break from World Cup 2014 qualification
Far from being just a distraction from the eventful Premier League and Champions League campaigns, the friendly fixture will be a stern test for Roy Hodgson’s men.
The Three Lions go into the game as slight outsiders at 9/5, but will feel reasonably confident about getting a positive result having won their last two fixtures against the tricky Scandinavians.
However, Sweden, spearheaded by the enigmatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rasmus Elm and Ola Toivonen, will be brimming with confidence after battling back from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Germany last month in Berlin.
Overall, England have the edge over the Swedes, having won eight of their 23 games, compared to just six for their opponents.
Nine previous encounters have ended in a draw, which suggests that both teams have been closely matched throughout their history. A draw on Wednesday night is priced at 9/4.
It’s fair to say that recent matches between the two have been tight. Draws and narrow one-goal winning margins are commonplace and recent form suggests that the same could happen again.
Here we remember the five most recent games between England and Sweden ahead of Wednesday’s game.
Sweden 2 England 3 (June 2012)
The two teams last met at Euro 2012 in the summer when Danny Welbeck’s clever backheel proved the difference for England.
A shock looked on the cards after Sweden had come from a goal down to lead 2-1 thanks to an Olof Mellberg double. Theo Walcott levelled the scores with a spectacular equaliser before Welbeck’s special winner left the unlucky Swedes deflated.
The result helped England grind their way through the group stages before they exited in the quarter-finals.
England 1 Sweden 0 (November 2011)
An own goal from former Celtic defender Daniel Majstorovic made all the difference a year ago at Wembley.
As the score suggests, it was a tense, almost tedious affair with very few chances.
The game, though, proved significant for two reasons as England beat Sweden for the first time since 1968 in front of a crowd of 48,876, the lowest for an England game since Wembley was rebuilt.
Sweden 2 England 2 (June 2006)
Henrik Larsson scored an injury-time equaliser at the 2006 World Cup as both teams progressed from Group B into the knockout stages.
England suffered an early blow as Michel Owen was carried off on a stretcher in the first minute with a knee injury that side-lined him for nearly a year.
Marcus Allback cancelled out Joe Cole’s fine opener before Steven Gerrard and Larsson both netted late on.
Sweden 1 England 0 (March 2004)
Another friendly encounter between the two sides and this time Ibrahimovic took advantage of some slack defending to fire past David James from close range.
Owen Hargreaves had earlier come close to edging the visitors ahead with a 30-yard free-kick that crashed against the crossbar.
The England team on show that night included the likes of Alan Thompson, Alan Smith, Phil Neville and Darius Vassell.
England 1 Sweden 1 (June 2002)
Sol Campbell got England’s World Cup 2002 campaign off to a great start with a powerful header midway through the first half.
Despite starting brightly, Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side quickly ran out of steam and former Sheffield Wednesday and Everton midfielder Niclas Alexandersson duly equalised on the hour mark.
Only a fine save from David Seaman denied Teddy Lucic from giving the Swedes the lead minutes later as England hung on for a draw.