When and where: The Group D clash at Euro 2012 kicks-off from the Olympiyskiy Stadium in Kiev at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN2, with a live stream available on ESPN3. Viewers in the U.K. can watch a free live stream on the BBC's iPlayer.

Preview: In getting a draw from their opening encounter with France, England largely achieved the extent of their ambitions. As will become the predominant style under new boss Roy Hodgson, England was happy to sit back and absorb pressure before trying to make the most of their opportunities on the counter.

For the most part, England reduced a superior French side to shots from outside the box, although it was one of those that brought their only goal, through Samir Nasri.

A primary cause of that strike was England's midfield dropping so deep that they fused into the backline, allowing balls to be played out into space on the edge of the box. Something that will need to be corrected against a Sweden side featuring Zlatan Ibrahimovic dropping off the front.

Against Sweden, Hodgson looks set to go for two strikers, with Andy Carroll joining Danny Welbeck up front. The move is motivated by a desire to capitalize on Sweden's glaring weakness in recent games: a propensity for conceding headed goals.

While the appearance of Carroll nominally suggests England will be more attacking, don't expect the side to suddenly begin displaying free-flowing expansive soccer. The game plan will still be based around an organized and solid two banks of four as is the hallmark of Hodgson's teams.

Sweden head into Friday's contest needing to avoid defeat to remain in the competition and realistically hoping for a win against a nation that they have typically done well against.

Sweden has never lost to England in seven competitive fixtures, winning two and drawing five. For the Swedes, the opportunity to play England represents something of a derby, giving the popularity of the English Premier League in the Scandinavian nation.

This is not a traditional Sweden side, however. Far from the stubborn, resolute teams that have frustrated England in years past, this Sweden outfit has far grander ambitions on the ball.

Though that approach is admirable, if Sweden is to survive in this tournament then they will have to defend much better than against Ukraine. With right-back Mikael Lustig suffering with a hip problem, coach Erik Hamren has altered the back line with West Brom's Jonas Olsson to partner veteran Olof Mellberg at the heart of the defense and Andreas Granqvist moving over to the right.

Hamren will also make further changes with two more players with Premier League experience coming into the side. Anders Svensson will be in the center of midfield, taking the place of Ola Toivonen, with Rasmus Elm moving back to the left, while Johan Elmander is restored up front in preference to Markus Rosenberg.

Sweden should be confident of creating chances against England, a department that certainly wasn't a problem in their opening match. Their star man, Ibrahimovic, was at the heart of everything good for Sweden against Ukraine and he will have to be at the top of his game once again to give his side a chance of victory. Perhaps the bigger question is whether his teammates can live up to the forward's high standards.


G: Isaksson

D: Granqvist, Mellberg, J. Olsson, M. Olsson

M: Larsson, Svensson, Kallstrom, Elm

F: Ibrahimovic


England (probable)

G: Hart

D: Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole

M: Milner, Parker, Gerrard, Young

F: Carroll, Welbeck

 Prediction: With a coach who honed his managerial chops in Sweden in the 1970s and 80s, England could take on a more than a slight resemblance to the Sweden sides of times past in this encounter. In a reversal of the traditional character of these nations, it is Sweden that could well be the more attractive side on the day. With Kim Kallstrom and Svensson both comfortable on the ball and Ibrahimovic coming deep, Sweden is likely to have a fair chunk of possession.

In Ibrahimovic, Sweden undoubtedly has the most talented player on show. Often criticized unfairly in England for failing to turn up on the big occasion, this could be the Milan forward's occasion to shine against English opposition. Rasmus Elm on the left flank can also be a potential danger on the left, while the recalled former Bolton striker Elmander must take the chances that Ibrahimovic is likely to create.

England will be hoping that James Milner and Ashley Young can provide the aerial ammunition for Carroll and Welbeck. And Sweden's full-backs will have to focus on preventing crosses coming into the box with those in the middle, surprisingly, looking far from comfortable defending in the air.

Both sides have their flaws and as has occurred so often in the past, this could well be a stalemate that does neither side any great favors.

Sweden 1-1 England