Roy Hodgson success in Sweden in danger of coming back to bite him warns Sven Goran Eriksson

Eriksson explains why his country still love beating England

This is the week in which Sweden's fondness for Roy Hodgson has burst out all over again. The 4-4-2 system he introduced at Halmstad and Malmo in the 1970s and 1980s, which was then adopted by the national team, had been beginning to feel old and rigid under Lars Lagerback. Erik Hamren – the coach Hodgson faces tonight – decided to introduce something attack-minded and new. Now, the Swedes want to go back to the Hodgson way.

"Bloody hell, that was naive," screamed Aftonbladet's headline yesterday, as the paper reflected on the tactics that brought defeat by Ukraine on Monday.

Hodgson knows, as he seeks victory here tonight, that he risks reaping the whirlwind of the fascination with English football he bestowed on Sweden. The 4-4-2 game he and Bobby Houghton brought engendered that interest, which was fuelled further by the English football show Tipsextra, a Saturday-evening institution for years from the 1970s. It is why you will find passionate Derby County fans in corners of Sweden and it is why – the very significant point for tonight – Sweden are always especially desperate to beat England. It is tantamount to facing an old colonial master.

Sven Goran Eriksson related yesterday how as an England manager who faced his countrymen in two tournaments, he told his players: "Sweden is a tough, a very tough opponent." "It's in the heart and soul of every Swede to make life miserable for England" he said. "The consequence is that Swedish players always work a little bit harder when they play England. It's like a derby to them. That makes Sweden a nasty rival. And I don't think I have to remind you that the games in 2002 and 2006 ended in a great English disappointment."

Eriksson was talking about the 1-1 draw in Saitama at the 2002 World Cup, when Niclas Alexandersson seized on Danny Mills' "dreadful failure of a pass", as Eriksson remembered it yesterday. There was also the even bigger disappointment of Henrik Larsson's injury-time goal to make it 2-2 in Cologne four years later. "I said: 'Boys, it's early in the tournament. Don't be so hard on yourself,'" Eriksson said. "I could have talked to an empty room." A draw tonight would leave England at risk of elimination by Ukraine on Tuesday.

There is something in the Swedish psyche which makes them love it when the English exude superiority. Before Steven Gerrard unwittingly stoked the fire yesterday, Anders Svensson had created one. "I don't think England has the same respect for us as they have for France," he said.

So Eriksson will flinch for the English nation when he reads Gerrard's comments today. "With all due respect to Sweden, they are not France," he said. Eriksson always sensed that superiority complex in his England players.

The problem for England is that the Swedes know the English game so well. Unsurprisingly for a man who succeeded in Swedish management by copying Hodgson's methods, Eriksson's method for playing Sweden is effectively the same as Hodgson's.

"Sweden like to play compact and press their opponents high up the pitch and because of that it is important that you move the ball quickly and with as few touches as possible," he said. "You also have to be careful when they have corners and free-kicks. Swedes are often big and strong. Make sure the 4-4-1-1 system is well organised. I will go as far as saying that is [currently] as tight as it can be."

Hamren said he would be looking for more set-pieces to get the best from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whom he said was "OK to play" despite a thigh injury.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he punishes England again," Eriksson said of the Milan player, in his column for the Expressen newspaper. "I wouldn't be surprised if Zlatan scores the goal that wins the game for Erik Hamren. That would silence Zlatan's critics in England. Maybe forever."

England, who have not beaten Sweden in seven competitive matches, at least have a manager who has a track record against them. Hodgson has won two and drawn two of four matches against the Swedes while managing Finland and Switzerland.

Hamren's attempts to move on from the Hodgson culture have been vexed ever since a 4-1 defeat by the Netherlands early in his reign, after which he tightened up and earned a 0-0 draw with Germany. Yet despite the Ukraine setback, he made no apologies for trying to modernise Swedish football.

"When you are working with football or anything you work you are always taking steps," he said. "You have to learn a lot about the past but mostly it is to deal with the life just now. I think when you are working with football or anything you are always taking steps. You can't always stay on the same platform. That's life, sometimes you take steps forwards, sometimes back."

Eriksson knows of Swedish desire to succeed where England are concerned, a constant through the changing years.

"I tried to get in to the [English] players' and the journalists' heads," he said. "Just to really get them to realise that Sweden isn't an easy opponent."

Suggested Topics
News
US comedian Bill Mahr
people
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Sport
football
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Life and Style
Models – and musicians – on the catwalk in Dior Homme for the men’s 2015/16 fashion show in Paris
fashionAt this season's Paris shows, various labels played with the city boys' favourite
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us