The Sweden team spokesman, Hans Hultman, has confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be fit to start against England despite missing parts of Wednesday’s training session due to an injury to his left thigh.
Erik Hamren could opt to restore Johan Elmander to the starting XI ahead of Markus Rosenberg, who was preferred against Ukraine. Elmander had been recovering from a fractured foot and only returned to full training two days before Sweden’s opening match in Kiev.
Many were surprised to see 24-year-old midfielder Rasmus Elm preferred to the more experienced Anders Svensson, who has won 128 caps, against the co-hosts. Hamren could re-unite the Elfsborg captain with Kim Kallstrom in the centre of the park.
Roy Hodgson is not expected to make wholesale changes to the England side that drew 1-1 with France. Danny Welbeck should continue alongside Ashley Young in attack, while James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are likely to retain their places on the wings.
Hodgson admitted to having concerns over how fatigue might affect central midfielders Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard but they are unlikely to be rested against Sweden. Jordan Henderson is the duo’s obvious deputy but Milner and Phil Jones could also fill in.
DID YOU KNOW ?
- Sweden eliminated England from Euro ’92 in the final game of the group stage as a late winning goal by Tomas Brolin sealed a 2-1 victory.
- The fate of Erik Hamren’s team in Poland and Ukraine is hanging in the balance after their loss to co-hosts Ukraine. Defeat against England would end their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals.
- Olof Mellberg has now played in more European Championship finals games than any other Sweden player after notching up his 11th appearance against Ukraine. He had previously shared the record with Henrik Larsson and Fredrik Ljungberg.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pictured right), meanwhile, overtook Larsson as his country’s top goalscorer at European Championship finals. Ibrahimovic’s strike in Kiev was his fifth tournament goal.
- England’s 1-0 win over Sweden at Wembley in November last year was their first in 43 years. They have never beaten the Scandinavian nation in a World Cup or European Championship match (including qualifiers), drawing five times and losing twice.
- Roy Hodgson began his managerial career in Sweden with Allsvenskan side Halmstad. He led the unfancied club to league titles in 1976 and 1979 and later returned to the country to guide Malmo to five consecutive championships between 1985 and 1989.
- Steven Gerrard is the fifth England player to play at three European Championships. Tony Adams, Alan Shearer, Gary Neville and Sol Campbell have all previously achieved the feat.
- James Milner covered more ground than any other England player against France, running 11,800 metres. Gerrard was next on 10,474 metres, with Ashley Young just behind on 10,266 metres.
by Oliver Platt