England 1 – 0 Sweden Match Report and Analysis

November 16, 2011 - by mosesbet · Filed Under Sports News Comments Off on England 1 – 0 Sweden Match Report and Analysis 

England made it 2 wins from 2 at Wembley after beating World Champions Spain 1-0, and then Sweden 1-0 (for the first time since 1968) within a 3-day period.

Fabio Capello’s new-look, youthful team looked relatively comfortable attacking a Sweden side that England have failed to beat in 13 attempts.

Tottenham left-back Kyle Walker (21), Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell (20) and Man Utd defender Phil Jones (19) all impressed manager Capello as they were given first starts.

Walker was even awarded the Man-of-the-Match Award in his England debut.

While England played in front of the lowest ever attendance at Wembley (48,876) since the stadium was rebuilt, the crowd got behind the team and were buoyed early on by an own goal from Daniel Majstorovic after 22 minutes.

England were by no means as exciting or attacking as most fans would have hoped for 3 days after beating the World Champions and Euro Champions Spain, however one has to admit that a comfortable 1-0 victory, with a clean sheet, is impressive for a team which had a number of first-team players missing from the squad.

Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Young and Defoe were all omitted from the squad tonight, while only 3 of the players in the starting XI had the experience of a playing in a major Finals tournament.

The biggest problem for England from my perspective is that while they have a strong, disciplined defence heading into the Euros with plenty of leggy substitutes (e.g. Cahill, Jagielka, Jones, Cole, Baines, Lescott, Smalling, Walker), they still lack players in midfield who can create, score and lead the build-up to more goals.

Capello has obviously seen something that he likes in the young Rodwell, however his lack of games in an England shirt and the competition for midfield places would give him an extremely slim chance of making the 23 man squad for Ukraine and Poland next summer.

If you agree with the general consensus that the manager will take 2 players for each position, then in central midfield you have Gerrard, Parker, Barry, Wilshere and Rodwell all jockeying for the same position.  At least one of those is going to need to be trimmed from the squad, and let’s not forget that players such as Milner and Jones are all capable of playing in those positions.

While a number of pundits still think that Lampard will be the experienced player most likely to miss the bus, it really depends on how Rodwell and Lampard compare this season at their respective clubs.  They’re competing against each other for that extra place.

The other issue for me is England’s lack of International star strikers.  Rooney is excellent, but is guaranteed to miss at least 2-3 of England’s group games.  And if we agree that you need two players for each position then we need at least 1 or 2 other strikers to take to the tournament.

Wellbeck and Sturridge are both playing for Man Utd and Chelsea’s first team in the Champions League, which makes them obvious contenders, but they’re still not the ideal “poacher” or “front man” that you need against the top teams.

World Cup winning teams have always had prolific strikers to count on such as Henry, Klose, Totti, Villa and Torres etc…You just can’t expect England to compete with the top teams at a realistic level without a real centre forward capable of scoring 3+ goals in a tournament.  England lack this in my opinion, which is OK but it puts a lot more pressure on possession play and scoring goals from midfield – which you have to admit is unlikely if Parker, Jones and Wilshere are all playing (neither of them have ever scored an England goal, and Parker is the only one to have ever scored a Premier League goal).

Walcott also looks like one of the first players on the team sheet, however he hasn’t scored  a single goal for England since his hattrick against Croatia in Zagreb 3 years ago.  This places even more pressure on having other players on the field capable of scoring goals.

Other than that, England look on course to qualify from their group.  They’ve been put in the 2nd seed alongside Germany, Italy and Russia, while only the Netherlands (who England will play next year) and Spain have been seeded above them.