Tag: Sweden

A Mixed Bag

England 2-2 Sweden / Trinidad & Tobago 0-2 Paraguay A mixed bag indeed, but at least the Sven-bashers haven’t got quite as much of a leg to stand on as they had previously. His hand was forced by the horrible first minute injury to Michael Owen. Well, I hope that the Owen-bashers are happy too. There’s a good chance that he’ll be out for the rest of the tournament. And! (I can only hope that this feels them with glee and delight) He suffered a tremendous amount of physical pain, as well! DOUBLE BONUS! The injury to Owen not only forced England to more or less throw their attacking plans out of the window, but also meant that theyessectively lost a substitution. Don’t tell me for a second that this didn’t make a difference in the closing minutes. As it turned out, the first-half performance was, considering everything, outstanding. Rooney looked sharp, latching onto Beckham’s superb long pass and almost scoring. If a Brazilian had scored the goal that Cole did, we wouldn’t hear the end of it for the remainder of the tournament. I’ve already seen his goal described on another blog as a “fluke”. Make of that what you wish. It was an excellent team display, with Lampard and Rooney peppering the Swedish goal with long-range shots, but the pick of the crop was… hold your breath…...

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The Late, Late Show

Paraguay 0-1 Sweden With five minutes to go in this match, you had to feel some sympathy for the Swedes. For 175 minutes, they’d battered their oppositions, doing everything except for putting the ball in the back of the net. Then, in one moment, the Paraguayan defence was opened up, Freddie Ljungberg scored, and justice was done. For a team that needed a win to be all but certain of going out, Paraguay played appallingly defensively. How many teams are going to try the same thing this summer? Turn up, do the bare minimum to stay in the tournament, and then depend on getting a result in their final match to go through? To be fair, Bobadilla, the Paraguayan goalkeeper, deserved better, even if very few of his team-mates did. He made brilliant saves from Kallstrom and Larsson, and when he was beaten in the second half by Allback, Caniza raced ack to hack the ball back from the goal-line. He received a smack in the moouth from the frame of the goal for his troubles. They seemed fated not to score until Larsson intelligently headed across the goal for Ljungberg to keep Sweden’s hopes of winning the group alive. The question is, of course, this: where does it leave England? Well, Sweden are unlikely to get as many chances as the seventy-odd that they have missed in their...

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The Perfect Result

Trinidad & Tobago 0-0 Sweden From a jingoistically English perspective, we couldn’t have asked for much more than this. Trinidad have lost a man for a game. Sweden have now got something of a mountain to climb, and could be out by the time they play England next Saturday. And, as per the post below this one, England now only need a win on Tuesday night to secure their passage into the knock-out stages. It was, of course, a fantastic result for Trinidad & Tobago. Sweden didn’t play well, and missed far too many chances to suggest that they are going to make the sort of major impact on these finals that many people seem to think they will. Trinidad were defensively well-organised, though they did rely on profligate finishing from the Swedes and a once in a lifetime performace from Shaka Hislop, who only started because regular first choice Kelvin Jack injured himself in the warm-up. Trinidad did, of course, break away a couple of times and contrived to hit the crossbar, but for them to have snatched a win would have been utterly unfair on a clearly superior Swedish side. Sweden have learnt a lesson, and they’ve learnt it the hard way: you can’t waste a dozen chances and expect to win at this level of football. Not even against the tournament’s rank outsiders. They need to...

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