Don’t listen to the Spanish: England deserved to beat the reigning world and European champions at Wembley on Saturday.
True, Spain monopolised possession and, at times, England struggled to keep hold of the ball.
But for all Cesc Fabregas’ snipings about “not trying to play football” and “lacking talent”, England did enough to win the game: they defended well to a man, restricted Spain to a handful of genuine chances and took their opportunity when it came.
Not only that, they did so at odds of 333/100, making those who backed them with bwin’s £25 free bet £108.25 richer.
As such, they carry significant momentum into their game against Sweden this evening, but to see this as reason to back Fabio Capello’s men to ease to a second victory in the space of four days would be jumping the gun.
For Sweden offer a different sort of test to that posed by Vicente del Bosque’s outfit and the match is set to assume an altogether different pattern.
Whereas England were underdogs against Spain and could tailor their game accordingly, against Sweden they go into the match as favourites.
And heavy favourites at that, with a home victory priced at 31/50 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with a draw at 27/10 and Sweden victory at 17/4.
As such, England will be expected to assume the role of aggressors, are likely to have significantly more possession than against Spain and instead of seeking to score on the counter-attack will be forced to get past entrenched midfield and defensive lines.
It is in these matches that England have traditionally struggled, with Sweden in particular proving they are capable of frustrating the Three Lions in these circumstances.
Not since 1968 have England beaten Sweden; the 12 games since then have ended in Swedish success on four occasions and the remaining eight in a draw.
And with four of the last five matches ending without a winner, it is another draw rather than an England victory which looks the most likely result in the 3Way football betting market.
A successful £25 free bet on England to draw with Sweden would return £92.50, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
It is also worth pointing out that Sweden are no cannon fodder and, like England, go into the match buoyed by an impressive recent result.
In the final round of Euro 2012 qualifiers, Sweden secured a place at the summer tournament with a 3-2 win over Holland, who had at that stage won all of their Group E matches.
Three goals against the Dutch highlights one of Sweden’s strengths – they scored more than three times a game on average during the qualifying process, and so can be expected to find the back of the net at Wembley this evening at odds of 31/50.
Meanwhile, England have scored in 14 of their last 15 fixtures, meaning a score draw is on the cards if the teams are to remain level.
As such, a 2-2 final scoreline looks tempting at odds of 31/2, with this being the result at the 2006 World Cup when the two teams last met.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was on the bench that day but he scored in Sweden’s prior fixture against England in March 2004, when his strike was enough to secure a 1-0 victory.
The striker is also in excellent form for his club Milan, with five goals in his last four appearances for the Italian side, making him a good bet to score at any time this evening at odds of 2/1.
For England, Bobby Zamora looks the best option given he is set to spearhead the attack.
With England scoring first in each of their last four games, the Fulham forward looks tempting to grab the opener at odds of 6/1.
Alternatively, have a punt on Daniel Sturridge, who has been guaranteed a place on the bench by Capello.
The Chelsea star has moved ahead of Fernando Torres in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge and is averaging more than a goal every other game in the Premier League this season.
As such, bet on him to get the last goal of the game at odds of 6/1.
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