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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor