Euro 2012: Three cheers for England to go through
There's not enough talent in the Swedish line-up and I think England have to go for the win from the second game in Group D.
England showed some real promise against France, and Harry Redknapp is backing them against Sweden in their next Euro 2012 Group D match.
First game out of the way and I have to say 'job done'!
Before the tournament, we all knew the opener was going to be the toughest game but I thought the boys acquitted themselves well, doing what they had to do in all positions. Beating the French would have been something else but a point apiece is fair and we've got a platform to build on now.
And from what I saw of Sweden, we should be winning the next fixture.
Against France we took the lead, looked very solid in general, and it was no shame to concede once to an attack containing Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri.
But there were good displays from the Three Lions right across the pitch and I think we have to give the lads a pat on the back and show them a bit more respect. We tend to over-rate other teams and downplay our own talents in this country but we weren't outclassed by France (editor's note: third favourites for Euro 2012 @(10.09)) and other than that attacking trio and Mathieu Debuchy at rightback, I didn't see any players who you'd want in the England team.
No disrespect to them but there's not many I'd want holding a British passport!
However optimistic I am about England though, one thing is for sure: with Ukraine beating Sweden this is all going to come down to the final game against the co-hosts in a week's time. Not that I'm getting ahead of myself, we need to focus on Sweden and make sure we get three points on Friday night. I know Roy will have the boys thinking about that one.
Sweden looked average and I really fancy us for the win, especially at odds-against on Betfair. We all know about Zlatan Ibrahimovic but there's not that much quality around him - Anders Svensson played for me at Southampton and he's 35 now! He came on for half an hour last night, while Olef Mellberg, 34, played all 90 minutes. I'm not sure what Jonas Olsson was doing on the bench, he's a player I really like for West Brom, and I don't think he'd have been caught out like Mellberg was for Ukraine's first goal.
There's not enough talent in the Swedish line-up and I think England have to go for the win from the second game in Group D. I predicted we'd draw with France so I'm delighted to have recommended a winner in my first column, and I'm going to attempt to keep the run going with a bet on England to win on Friday night.
There were plenty of solid performers in all areas for England and I think that difficult-to-beat set-up is going to work for us. We'll start to add more flair when Wayne Rooney returns.
In attack, Roy sprung a surprise on us with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and he had a decent debut without setting the world alight, though there were a couple of flashes of real attacking class. I like Danny Welbeck, he has improved this year, and I know Fergie rates him big time. He runs all day long, works hard and kept the French centrebacks on their toes. Ashley Young got between the lines at times and put in a good shift.
In the middle, Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker gave us a solid platform, though Scottie might have to adjust his game because he was out on his feet in the last 20 minutes. It was hot in Donetsk but I don't think we're at a huge disadvantage against the Group D opposition, certainly not Sweden anyway.
I particularly liked what I saw at the back, especially Glen Johnson, who got forward plenty of times and looked a real danger. The five are a good unit - so let's back them to keep a clean sheet against the Swedish attack.
In my first column I said England could make it as far as the semi-finals and I still believe it. It obviously just depends on who tops Group C, but we haven't played ourselves out of winning Group D.
Let's believe in the boys and back them to build on it against Sweden.