The Andy Gray Column: England must win Sweden clash

Summary: ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to South West Londoner…


THE LAST thing England want to do is play against one of the host nations needing a win, so I expect them to take the game to Sweden and go all out for a result.

I don’t think Ukraine winning was a great result for England because Sweden will know what is required of them.

Sweden need to get at least a point – if they lose then they know they are out and teams in that position can be really dangerous.

I thought they were quite ordinary against the Ukraine but in Zlatan Ibrahimovic they have someone who can win the game on his own.

It will be more like a Premier League game which will actually help England in many ways. They will get more of the ball and be able to express themselves.

England will face a team who are very similar to themselves – it will almost be system for system, like for like, two banks of four with one off one.

They will mirror each other and that can often lead to a quite negative game with teams cancelling themselves out.

But England can’t hang about and go for a draw – they have to try and win this game, especially if France go and beat Ukraine.

That would mean England against Ukraine is winner takes all – Ukraine would have everybody in the nation behind them, and that would make it very tough for England.

If Ukraine can beat France it would give them six points and put them through, and then it may mean they will leave a few players out against England. They’re an old side – they might rest Andrei Shevchenko and Andrei Voronin.

That would make England’s task a little bit easier. I think the next two games are vitally important going into the last one.

Shevchenko scored two brilliant goals against Sweden. ‘Form is temporary but class is permanent’ is a phrase I’ve used quite a lot in the last 20 years.

He’s 35 years of age and he can’t do it in every game for 90 minutes as much as he could. But what he can do when his country need him is produce two finishes like that.

If he plays against France and they win I think they will probably leave him out against England, so that’s what England have to hope for.

But the best thing England can do is just go and beat Sweden and not worry about anyone else.

Andy Gray is an official ambassador for – Football’s Social Network. Available now for FREE online or at the App Store;

Follow us on @SW_Londoner

Related Articles