Sweden 'a game England should win' says buoyant captain Steven Gerrard


Captain Steven Gerrard believes England should take advantage of their draw against France in their opening Euro 2012 clash by beating Sweden in Kiev on Friday evening.

Gerrard is confident in England's ability to topple the Swedes despite having failed to beat them in a competitive fixture for more than 40 years.

The midfielder insists the belief and confidence in the squad is in sharp contrast to the mood after being held 1-1 by USA in the opening World Cup encounter in South Africa two years ago.

Gerrard said: "We are not getting carried away and we just need to build on each game and the France game has gone now.

"We've got out of it partly what we wanted. We will analyse the game and what we did wrong and right and we go for the Swedes now.

"We need to get three points against them and then the point against France becomes very important.

"I don't want to disrespect the other two teams. Of course, on paper France are favourites in the group.

"The Swedes are difficult and I don't think we've beaten them for a long time in a competitive game.

"We will respect them but, with all respect, it's a game we should win."

Gerrard admitted: "The difference now to two years ago is we came off that game against the USA deflated with no belief and confidence.

"I think after getting a point against France, in the dressing room there was a lot of belief and confidence and a lot of togetherness and that is what you need."

Gerrard is unsurprised how quickly the players have bought into the philosophies of new head coach Roy Hodgson and showed strong defensive qualities against France.

He said: "Of course, we haven't been together so long and the lads have taken the tactics on board really quickly.

"I'm not surprised how quickly we have adapted to the discipline required because I know the manager really well (from Liverpool) and he puts the message across really well.

"It's alright doing that but the boys have got to take it on board and they've got to listen and against France we were unbreakable at times.

"It is a very good sign and to do well in these tournaments, you need to be very good defensively and we were against France.

"Against top sides like France, you need to be good without the ball because there are times when it is going to be difficult and they've got world-class players.

"If you ask their guys, they will say England were very good without the ball."