It’s fair to say the mood was sombre in the Swedish press following the national side’s less than inspiring performance against Ukraine in their Euro 2012 opener on Monday night.
One particularly damning indictment after the 2-1 defeat came from Aftonbladet’s Simon Bank, who lamented that “Ukraine had its lightning-fast counter-attacks, its clever passing game and the shimmering Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in the playmaker role… we had Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and nothing else”.
It was an impressive performance from Sweden’s lynchpin (even if he did lose Andriy Shevchenko for the second goal) and one in which Ibrahimovic notched his 32nd goal for his country.
Bwin offer odds of 17/10 on the AC Milan striker scoring for the second successive match as Erik Hamren’s team next take on England.
Aside from his goal, however, Ibrahimovic played much of the game in a state of frustration and there were times where he visibly appeared to agree with Bank’s assessment that he was all Sweden had to offer.
While he may indeed be a cut above the rest of his teammates in terms of talent, Sweden still possess other players who can really hurt England on Friday night and bwin place them at 13/5 in their 3way betting market to emerge victorious.
One player they should know very well is Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson. England’s goalkeeper Joe Hart will be more wary than most about the threat Larsson poses as the Swede put two goals past him at the Etihad back in March.
Bwin offer odds of 4/1 on him smashing another one past England’s Hart-throb this time around.
Larsson comes in to the tournament after an impressive season in which he scored eight goals for the Black Cats, including a spectacular free-kick against Arsenal which prompted former boss Arsene Wenger to describe him as the best dead-ball specialist in the Premier League.
In light of this, Larsson’s threat is perhaps even more potent in terms of providing goals for his teammates and of those looking to capitalise on Larsson’s delicious deliveries is former Aston Villa and Juventus defender Olof Mellberg.
Bwin consider the veteran centre-half a long shot to score in the game at odds of 9/1, but with Hodgson’s England focusing mainly on having a resolute defence, scoring from a set-piece may be Sweden’s best bet.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Euro 2012 odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting