Form of France, Sweden and Ukraine spells trouble

 

If England went down fighting in Wednesday night's defeat by the Netherlands, that might not be enough for them to progress from their group at this summer's European Championship.

Their main rivals, France, have gone 18 games unbeaten, but what is equally worrying is the form of the other two sides England will face. There is a very real and growing prospect of the Three Lions finishing bottom in Group D.

Sweden recorded an impressive 3-1 away win over Croatia on Wednesday, with a goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and two from Sebastian Larsson, and the result has injected belief into the squad. "The way we won – playing good football and scoring beautiful goals – was solid," said midfielder Rasmus Elm. "It was against a strong nation too. We'll carry this win with us."

Confidence is also high in the fourth side in the group, the co-hosts Ukraine, who have won four of their last five – the other was a 3-3 draw with Germany. On Wednesday, they beat Israel 3-2 away. "We had not seen each other for over three months but we easily got back down to work," said their striker Marko Devic. "It will be even better before the Euros." England had better start hoping that is not the case.

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