Euro 2012: England delusional - ex-Sweden captain Jonas Thern

Jonas Thern
Jonas Thern

England are too "predictable" and "stereotyped" to beat Sweden on Friday, according to their opponents' former skipper Jonas Thern.

England drew 1-1 with France in their opening game while Sweden were beaten 2-1 by Ukraine, but Thern believes the Scandinavians are the better team.

"The one shot towards the France goal over 90 minutes was all it took to ignite the chronic English illusion of world football supremacy," he said.

"Their style of play is predictable."

Thern, who won 75 caps for his country and helped them to finish third at the 1994 World Cup, believes England are not good enough - despite being impressed with their appointment of Roy Hodgson as manager.

England have never beaten Sweden in seven tournament clashes, and Thern is backing his countrymen to extend that impressive record.

"I said before the Euro finals started that Sweden would beat England and I stand by that statement despite the horrific display against the Ukraine," said the former Benfica, Napoli, Roma and Rangers midfielder.

"England's performance [against France] had none of the quality they like to boast it had.

"France had 15 shots on goal compared to England's one.

"England has historically struggled against Sweden as they cannot capitalise on our strength, which is the physical game.

"Sweden does not fear this style of football in ways that other teams do.

"The only thing that could have been better for the Swedish team would have been if the manager position had been handed to somebody other than Roy as he is a very competent manager with substantial international experience."

Sweden have problems of their own, however, with coach Erik Hamren being forced to deny he called his players 'cowards' following their defeat to Ukraine.

"I did not call my players cowards," he said. "[But] we were playing a little cautious, we didn't show the aggression I wanted to see.

"I think some of the players were nervous in the first half, but we played a good game in the second half."

Sweden conceded two headed goals against Ukraine and, with England's strength being in the air, their defensive capabilities are expected to be severely tested.

However, Blackburn Rovers left-back Martin Olsson is not worried by his side's perceived weakness.

"When you look at the players the team England have, with [Joleon] Lescott and [John] Terry, they have strong players in the air - but so have we," he said.

"The last couple of games, we have lost our concentration at set-pieces but we have been working on that and we have to deal with that in the right way against England.

"I don't see it as a problem."

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