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Imperilled Sweden impress England's Hodgson

His team are at risk of an early exit but Erik Hamrén is upbeat as he takes on a coach highly respected in Sweden, Roy Hodgson, who for his part praised the consistency of his opponents.

Erik Hamrén was in a jovial mood at his pre-match press conference in Kyiv
Erik Hamrén was in a jovial mood at his pre-match press conference in Kyiv ©AFP/Getty Images

Sweden cannot afford defeat by England if they are to remain at UEFA EURO 2012 after losing their opener to Ukraine. Erik Hamrén nevertheless struck an upbeat mood as he prepared to take on a coach as well respected in Sweden as he is in England, Roy Hodgson.

Hamrén, who has no concern about Zlatan Ibrahimović after his thigh knock and may be able to start with Johan Elmander, faces an England side again without the suspended Wayne Rooney but given optimism by their 1-1 opening draw against France. However, the Sweden coach – whose team will be backed by 18,000 fans in the Olympic Stadium, many of whom have been in Kyiv all week – is not worried.

"My feeling is very good," Hamrén said. "[The pain of defeat] passed quite quickly as the players had their families with them and were able to relax and we had a good training session with our fans. That was important for us and the last two days have given us a lot of energy."

For further inspiration he looked back less than a year to qualifying. "We had two games left, Finland and the Netherlands, and we needed to win both of them to go to the EURO," Hamrén said. "We did it, won both and we are here now. That is a really good experience to have."

England did briefly lead France, but although they missed the chance to win, Hodgson said: "I was happy with the start, certain aspects of our performance were good. We've got to make sure that when we win the ball back we break out. The last pass, cross or finish must be clinical because getting chances at this level is difficult. You've got to be effective when chances come your way."

As for Sweden's opening loss, Hodgson added: "I don't think they played badly, it was an interesting game. They are one of the most consistent performers at international level over the last number of years. They are a very consistent team [with] the organisation, the team spirit, the ability to play together and make good defensive decisions and do the right thing on the ball. And with Zlatan Ibrahimović they have a world-class player capable of winning a match off his own bat."

Hodgson occupies a special place in the affections of Swedish football fans, having made his name as a coach there with several league title wins. Hamrén said: "He is a really good coach and a nice person, too. He came to Sweden unknown but has become a big name because of the way he achieved results and influenced Swedish football. He's a big name and we'll never forget what he did for us."

It will be the fifth time former Finland and Switzerland coach Hodgson has faced Sweden, and he said: "Of course it's always nice to renew my acquaintances with Swedish football even though it forces me to look at old TV clips from 40 years ago where I barely recognise myself!"

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