Larsson warns defensive England

Larsson warns defensive England

Published Jun. 15, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Midfielder Sebastian Larsson believes England will play into Sweden's hands if they continue to adopt a defensive approach in their Euro 2012 group clash at the Olympic Stadium.

New England boss Roy Hodgson came in for criticism in some quarters for the way his side conceded possession to France in Monday's 1-1 draw in Donetsk.

Sweden need a positive result after being beaten by Ukraine in their opening game and Larsson hopes his side can take advantage of Hodgson's tactics if they remain the same.

Sunderland player Larsson said: "I don't know if I expect England to be extremely defensive or not. It is an important game for both teams. Both teams need the points.


"We know what we can do and if we play to our capabilities, we are capable of beating England.

"If you face a team that is playing really defensively, you can play the sort of game we want to play.

"We want to push forward and, if we can keep playing in that way, we can create our chances."

Larsson knows Sweden need to improve on their opening performance.

He said: "The game against Ukraine was not one of my better ones and we did not reach the level we were looking for, not during the first half.

"We didn't get into the game and it was hard. Personally I feel strong and eager to play a good game against England and that is the key thing.

"Most people would say England are favourites and that is fine by us. We don't worry too much about what people think and who are the favourites.

"We just worry about ourselves and try to reach the level we know we can - which didn't happen against Ukraine."

Swedish head coach Erik Hamren has hailed the influence Hodgson on his country's football philosophy but hopes he has plenty of headaches after the Kiev clash.

Hodgson began his managerial career with Halmstad and led them to the Swedish title in 1976 and 1979.

But his greatest achievements were with Malmo who lifted the league title for five successive seasons during his spell in charge plus two Swedish Cup triumphs.

Hamren said on Thursday: "In my opinion, Roy is a really good coach and a really nice person as well.

"He came to Sweden unknown but became a big name because of results at his clubs and took some new ideas into Swedish football.

"He is a big name in football and we will never forget what he has done for Swedish football.

"I really like him and you have seen so far with England, that he is a good coach.

"I am looking forward to meeting him tomorrow but I hope he is going to have most of the headaches after the game."