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Sweden and the World Cup


John Simkin
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Sweden looks like a team in decline. There best players, Henrik Larsson (34) and Fredrik Ljungberg (29) appear to be past their best and their most promising player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (24) has had a poor season with Juventus. Will go out at the first stage of the competition with England and Paraguay going through in Group B.

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Sweden looks like a team in decline. There best players, Henrik Larsson (34) and Fredrik Ljungberg (29) appear to be past their best and their most promising player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (24) has had a poor season with Juventus. Will go out at the first stage of the competition with England and Paraguay going through in Group B.

Even if the top players may be a bit past their prime, Sweden's strength has always been the quality and the organization of the whole team, not the individual players.

And John, you are a historian - what can we learn from history? Sweden has never lost against England in a World Cup ever - and has no intention of doing it this time either!

Edited by Peter_Tollmar
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Sweden looks like a team in decline. There best players, Henrik Larsson (34) and Fredrik Ljungberg (29) appear to be past their best and their most promising player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (24) has had a poor season with Juventus. Will go out at the first stage of the competition with England and Paraguay going through in Group B.

Even if the top players may be a bit past their prime, Sweden's strength has always been the quality and the organization of the whole team, not the individual players.

And John, you are a historian - what can we learn from history? Sweden has never lost against England in a World Cup ever - and has no intention of doing it this time either!

When it comes to football, recent history is a better guide to predicting football results. If I was a Swedish fan I would be rather concerned by the failure to score against Trinidad. I know we were poor against Paraguay but we did the 3 points.

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… and that was Trinidad with only 10 men in the second half.

I reckon that the current Swedish team is overrated. Sweden's often had quite an easy route to qualification (Moldova and Azerbaijan, for example), and they often fail when they meet real opposition. They might get lucky against Paraguay on Thursday, but I wouldn't be surprised if they get a surprise instead - Paraguay are quite a good team, actually.

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Don't you lot get it? Svennis is Sweden's secret 5th columnist, trying to make sure that Sweden qualify for the next round!

If one accepts this theory we can expect Eriksson to try and beat Trinidad today. He can then field a weak team against Sweden on Tuesday. This will help Sweden qualify if they beat England. However, they also need to beat Paraguay as well today.

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Fifa have warned England that they could get into serious trouble if they take it easy on Sweden tonight. One of the reasons for this warning has disappeared as Germany beat Ecuador this afternoon. The other reason is that Eriksson might be tempted to help Sweden qualify for the next round. The first signs of this possibility is his hints that Owen Hargreaves will play tonight. However, even with Hargreaves I expect England to win 3-0.

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1968 - do I need to say moore? :blink:

Seriously - Both these teams; Sweden and England will have a hard time in their further advances. At the same time I think this will fit both teams.... If England has a bad record against Sweden we have a worse one against Germany. The latest time we won against Germany in a competition was 1958 (in Gothenburg!). It would be good to change that statistic... :blink:

Sweden was the better team and deserved to win. They would have done but for two acts of individual brilliance by Joe Cole. True England has more world class players than Sweden, but in terms of managers, they are not in the same league. Lars Lagerback is quoted as saying that Eriksson wages are “obscene” (apparently Eriksson earns in a day what Largerback earns in a year).

Lagerback got his tactics right. He identified that Beckham was the wrong man to mark the near post at corners. It led to one goal and two near misses (both times the ball hit the crossbar). What sort of coach puts Beckham in that position? When did Beckham ever win a heading contest? Each time he was square on and was unable to stop the man running in front of him. It is a disgrace that Beckham still does not know how to defend corners but it is mystifying that Eriksson selects someone like him to carry out the task. After the game Eriksson said that we will have to work on this on training. I would have thought you would have sorted this problem out before the World Cup started?

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Eriksson's strategy has been to build a team around several key players - seems a fairly sensible idea in a team game at a level where matches are few and far between.

This is a typical Swedish strategy - Henrik Larsson has not been at his best in this game but Lagerbäck would never change him since he is one of the key players. Another one is Olof Mellberg who so far has not played very well either. Zlatan does not have the same status even if he is the "star"! He has a smaller injury (?) but he is also not in such good shape. Therefore it was relatively easy for Lagerbäck to substitute him for Marcus Allbäck.

I think that England stands a fairly good chance on advancement but I don't think it will carry you all the way but that's not only because of Sven-Göran Eriksson. You have some very good players but not enough to be able to win the tournament unless they play more like a team than yesterday. If you do win somebody managed to get England to play like a team...

It was kind of funny though to see the two managers yesterday. They both sat down very calmly without any real emotions. The only difference was Lagerbäcks chewing gum. :(

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Sweden looks like a team in decline. There best players, Henrik Larsson (34) and Fredrik Ljungberg (29) appear to be past their best and their most promising player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (24) has had a poor season with Juventus.

This was a good prophecy John - unfortunately. We did our worst game so far against Germany. Maybe it was because the Germans knew very well how to play against the Swedes and didn't allow them to dominate in any part of the game or maybe it was because we had some of the wrong players on the field and they just are not in shape right now. I was not very pleased when I saw that our manager had chosen Zlatan instead of Marcus Allbäck. Allbäck was hot just now and I'm sure he would have had a more positive influence on a Henrik Larsson out of shape. Germany has a good team no doubt but they do also have some flaws - like a not very strong defence which I think we should have used better. Our defence was not in the same division as the Germans during the first half an hour. They looked like they celebrated Midsummer Swedish style (lots of vodka and waking up in the morning with a banging headache and questions like - "Where am I, who are you and did we have fun?"). I expected them to do better even though I was aware of that the defence was our weakness. Yesterday unfortunately the whole team was our weakness. I can accept a lost game but I want to see it lost "in style". This was not the case. It was a poor game and as a Swede I felt when are they going to start to play. On top of this our manager put in a midfielder when we badly need to score? Unbelievable. Swedish managers are not wellknown for taking a lot of risks but when your under with two goals in a direct qualification in World Cup it seems more logic to put in another offensive forward (which we had several on the bench). But no - our manager wanted to continue to drive his Volvo in the middle lane a few kilometers under the speed limit... :D

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