Five things England can learn from Sweden v Ukraine
The DVD of the match between England's Group D opponents will give clues to Roy Hodgson. What will England have learnt about next opponents Sweden and Ukraine?
Wednesday 13 June 2012
1. Andrei Shevchenko's movement is exceptional
Clearly, the 35-year-old striker is not as quick as he was at Milan. He is not even as quick as he was at Chelsea. But like all great players, he remains clever enough to outmanoeuvre opponents. He darted away from first Olof Mellberg and then Zlatan Ibrahimovic for his two goals.
2. Ukraine's wingers can cause lots of problems
Ukraine's threat is not limited to Shevchenko, they have a pair of brisk, direct wingers: Andrei Yarmolenko on one flank and Yevhen Konoplyanka on the other. Yarmolenko is intelligent and incisive but the fun is all on Konoplyanka's side. The 22-year-old's dipped-shoulder and flash of pace will be more than enough to trouble Glen Johnson.
3. The partisan crowd will make a big difference
Host nations are always different. The roar when Shevchenko scored his equaliser against Sweden on Monday was unlike most things heard in modern football. This is a national event, Ukraine's first- ever tournament as hosts, and the atmosphere in Donetsk next Tuesday will be a lot more fraught than most Premier League games.
4. There is a gap at the centre of Sweden's midfield
With only Kim Kallstrom and Rasmus Elm in central midfield, Sweden left their back-four overexposed. Ukraine did not struggle for room, and when Kallstrom was booked their ability to stifle was further limited. Ashley Young and Steven Gerrard could revel in that space.
5. You must never leave Ibrahimovic alone
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is no less talented than Shevchenko. He scored Sweden's goal on Monday and hit the post with their next best chance. There are arguments over his consistency but if England allow him time on the ball they will be punished.
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