Saturday, 16 June 2012

Group D: England v Sweden Post Match Analysis

Carroll, 22                                       Johnson o.g 49
Walcott,64                                     Mellberg, 59

England start off in a 4-4-1-1 shape, starting 11:
GK: Hart  LB: Cole, CB: Lescott,  CB : Terry,   RB Johnson, RM: Millner  CM: Parker, CM: Gerrard,  LM: Young, Ss: Welbeck  ST: Carroll
SUBS USED:Oxlade Chamberlain/Welbeck,81  Walcott / Millner,61
Sweden start off in a 4-4-1-1 shape,starting 11:
GK,Isaksson, LB,Martine Olsson, CB,Jonas Olsson CB, Mellberg  RB,   LM, R. Elm  CM Kallstrom CM,Svensson RM, Larsson SS, Ibrahimovic ST,Elmander
SUBS USED: Granqvist/Lustig 66  Elmander/Roesenberg 79 Elm/Wilhelmsson 81

A Little look:
Sweden  go into this game making a few changes from the last game: Rosenberg lost his place up top, Elm moved to the left, Svensson started in the centre and Granqvist went to the right back slot, which gave Jonas Olsson his first start of the Euro's. Hodgson made a slight change to his line-up, putting his trust in Carroll, this meant Young moved to his preferred position on the left. Ibrahimovic likes to move to the right side and with Larsson coming off the flank Parker, Young and Cole will have to keep their eyes open. Wellbeck may have to adjust his game slightly as Carroll does not use the ball like Young or Rooney.

It was a strange game to watch, it kept switching from a slow-passing game to headless chicken shambles in the centre along with counter-attacks that were often played out by England's back line. The only thing that did stay the same was the quality of the application of these styles and the Defending which was average at best. It turned out to be a set piece game as this is where four of the goals came from. Sweden tried to play the ball around at times, a little more than England did but no-one could really get up any real pressure, so the ball  went from one end to the other and with the Swedish defences being as bad as it was, England took the three points in this game, but it could have easily gone either way and was a enjoyable watch.

Both teams made sure their front men closed down and both did well in this area, that was until Sweden started to drop off which in turn led to England's first goal. We saw two banks of four from both teams although the space between the lines was bigger than the gap England left when they played France. Johnson played well today thought he was caught a few times chasing back to make up from sometimes not watching the runner on the outside. This may have been down to Sweden playing central for big parts of the game so it came as a surprise when they did apply pressure here. Cole was good in the first half; he both attacked and defended well  along with finding himself in the box a few times. He played a lovely ball to Young early on, along with a neat header back to the keeper when under pressure. However, he didn't seem to get forward as much in the second half and fell out of the game a bit. Terry, along with Lescott did not have to do too much in the first half as Ibra dropped off and Elmander was not in the game at all, but that didn't stop Terry from playing a few sloppy balls out of defence. Martine Olsson was shaky early on and didn't really deal well with Milner, however when Walcott came on, he pushed forward more and made a few good runs, -one of which entailed him beating two players, getting into the box and playing a nice cut back- this was about as good as it got for him. Mellberg was alive for his goals and with the first one he was helped by Johnson falling asleep and keeping everyone onside; he sent the ball on its way to goal and England did the rest.

In the middle:
Sweden played the wingers narrow and tried to use the ball in central areas. This was where Ibra spent a lot of the game too, and did a really good job linking the play. He was too strong and skilful a lot of the time, for the English team, and I am sure that if he was English we would think him a star rather than doubting his clear talent. He dictated the play for Sweden with a lot of clever passes and with the way he held the ball up. Gerrard tallied up the passes for England but never really got into good positions and when he did play difficult balls forward they missed more then they hit their intended target. He was also sloppy on the counter, with a  pass to Welbeck and didn't show "England Captain" qualities late on in the game when England were already ahead: he stole the chance from Chamberlain when the youngster was better suited to hit the volley. 

Wing Play:
 England pushed their wide players right up field on  some goal kicks thinking Carroll would knock the  ball on, however he only won two aerial challengers out of eight, which is just not good enough. A lot of England's play was down the right side early on, with Johnson and Milner linking up well, this was a big part of the game plan. They got the ball to just outside the corner of the box, then tried to swing it in behind or hang the ball up for Carroll. Walcott did well at injecting some energy into the side; he cut in a lot and did really well to beat two men for  Welbeck's goal although, if he is honest he will tell you the that first goal was hit and hope and very central, and the keeper was awful in dealing with it, even if he did see it late.

Up Top:
Welbeck pulled off a great bit of inspiration for the goal, from a good run and pass by Walcott.  Welbeck came across the defender and towards the ball when it bounced up, he used the inside of his outside foot and brushed the ball into the far corner while on the turn: it was special. Wellbeck made 96% of his passes today, with only two of these passes being in his own half. He beat his man a few times, along with being very strong in the air.
Carrol took his goal excellently as the ball was too high for anyone but him: he powered into the space between the defenders and, like a man possessed, he rose like a salmon and with power smashed the ball into the goal- what a take! It's a shame it only went downhill from there; he didn't link the play well, only completing just over 50% of his passes- making only four out of twelve attacking passes. He gave the ball up too easily and just didn't show an ability to win the ball back in this game. Ibra had a good game and he might well have got a goal or two on another day. He also showed great skill when he left Milner for dust. At times, he was holding two players off. It was the best part of the match watching him play, as he took on a big load dealing with the lack of talent around him; he closed down and tackled well at times too.

Full time:
This was the big test for England in terms of getting out of the group. They certainly didn't pass it with flying colours, but a pass is worth its weight in gold (or silver, as the case may be), and as long as they don't lose to Ukraine, the England army will stumble on. Sweden are out now and will have to sort out their defence if they want to push on and reach the World Cup. 

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