Sweden midfielder Sebastian
Larsson is banking on his side's intimate knowledge of the
Premier League to continue their excellent record against
England in Euro 2012 Group D on Friday.
Speaking to a news conference at the Olympic stadium in the
Ukrainian capital, Larsson said the two sides' familiarity with
each other could play in the Swedes' favour.
Asked if England had a style of play that suited Sweden, the
Sunderland player smiled.
"I hope they suit us, especially tomorrow," Larsson told a
news conference on Thursday. "I feel it's a special match and I
think many others do too.
"It's a league we have grown up with and followed very
closely. It's one of the big football nations so it's always
been a special match and will probably be so in the future too."
He singled out captain Steven Gerrard as the key player for
England who have never beaten Sweden in seven competitive
internationals but did win the teams' last meeting, a friendly
at Wembley in November.
"He's a player who has been around a long time and knows
the score," he said. "He's their leader, he has everything, and
he's a player I have looked up to. He can play defensively,
offensively and physically."
After a 2-1 loss to hosts Ukraine in their opening game, it
is a must-win match for Erik Hamren's Sweden and Larsson said
the Swedes would be trying to make up for blowing a 1-0 lead in
"We have a desire for revenge, [and] it will be a big key
for us tomorrow, to show what we can do."
Coach Hamren said he was looking forward to pitting his wits
against England's Roy Hodgson, whom he says left a lasting
impression on Swedish football.
"He's a big name in Sweden and we'll never forget him for
what he has done for Swedish football so I'm looking forward to
meeting him tomorrow," Hamren said.
Hodgson is widely credited with transforming Swedish
football during his time at Halmstad and Malmo in the 1970s and
"But I hope he's going to have most of a headache after the
game so we'll see, but I really like him and, as we've seen so
far, he's a good coach and that we know in Sweden, we really
Hamren added that he did not expect England to change their
game-plan and play Andy Carroll to try to exploit Sweden's
perceived weakness in the air.
"Carroll is a box player, good in the box," he said. "If
England want that kind of game they'll play him, but until now
they have players with mobile, quick players."
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