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U21 Group B: Sweden v England preview

Gareth Southgate urged England to rediscover their "ruthless edge" when they take on a Sweden side who, in the words of Håkan Ericson, are full of confidence after an opening win.

Gareth Southgate looks relaxed during England's pre-match training session in Olomouc
Gareth Southgate looks relaxed during England's pre-match training session in Olomouc ©Getty Images

Sweden and England meet in second Group B fixture in Olomouc
Håkan Ericson's men eye second win; England seek first points
Gareth Southgate expects different match from loss to Portugal
Ericson makes England "favourites" but Swedes "can upset them"
England to make "a couple of changes" according to Southgate

Possible lineups
Carlgren; Nilsson Lindelöf, Baffo, Helander, Augustinsson; Khalili, Hiljemark, Lewicki, Tibbling; Guidetti, Kiese Thelin
Out: Milošević (suspended)
Doubtful: Kiese Thelin (heel)
Misses next match if booked: Helander, Hiljemark, Guidetti

England: Butland; Jenkinson, Moore, Gibson, Garbutt; Ward-Prowse, Loftus-Cheek; Redmond, Carroll, Pritchard; Kane
Out: Stones (concussion), Bond (ankle)
Misses next match if booked: Gibson, Jenkinson

Håkan Ericson, Sweden coach

We have great respect for England. They play with a higher tempo than Italy, they run more, and I am sure it will be a game played at a higher pace but we can upset them as well. We have a strategy for how we are going to try to do that but I can't talk about it right now!

Highlights: Italy 1-2 Sweden

England are the favourites. They have a lot of very good players, like [Harry] Kane, [Nathan] Redmond, and [Carl] Jenkinson, who are very important on the wings. We know their strengths and we also know some weaknesses. They are a physical team who run a lot, both in defence and attack. They like to attack down the wings and have very offensive wing backs and fast players, especially Redmond.

Our team have a lot of experience. When they got on the bus [after beating Italy] they were celebrating a lot but when they got off it one hour later they were calm. Now they have their focus on England. We got a lot of self-confidence from [the first game].

[On Isaac Kiese Thelin's injury] He has had a pain in his heel for a long time now. He needs as much time as possible between the games but now there's not so much time so we rested him from training today.

Gareth Southgate, England coach
We totally respect Sweden. We looked closely at their games against France, and it is no coincidence they beat France and came back with ten men against Italy it tells you about the character of their team and we will have to be at our best to win. Sweden are an experienced side, they are very good at what they do. They look to play off the second ball, they flood those areas with players and have good quality and are very resilient and difficult to break down.

[In the first match] our build-up in the first phase could have been better but that was slightly a consequence of the way Portugal pressed and made it difficult. They had four players in midfield with the diamond and we had three, plus the physicality of [William] Carvalho enabled them to pick up more loose balls.

Highlights: England 0-1 Portugal

We have attacking players throughout the team, and were one of the highest scorers in qualifying – that was the first game in 18 we haven't scored so we're not going to start ripping up what we've done. I will make a couple of changes because I had planned to make a couple of changes for this game because the style of the game is slightly different.

[On handling the pressure] We have players – Nathan [Redmond], Ben [Gibson] – who played in a play-off final [for the Premier League] that as worth over a hundred million [pounds]. We have players that played Champions League matches, players that played Premier League matches so I am comfortable that a lot of the group have been in these scenarios before and can draw on that experience.

I have total faith in the group of players. They are a pleasure to work with and I know they will attempt to control possession of the game and we have got to have the ruthless edge that maybe we didn't have in front of goal the other night – I have total confidence we will find that tomorrow.

Qualifying campaign (including play-off)

P10 W6 D1 L3 F24 A17 (Group 7 winners)
Qualifying top scorer:
John Guidetti (4), Isaac Kiese Thelin (4)

P12 W11 D1 L0 F35 A4 (Group 1 winners)
Qualifying top scorer:
Saido Berahino (10)

Form guide (including friendlies, most recent first)


Senior internationals in squad (caps)
Isaac Kiese Thelin (5), Oscar Hiljemark (6), Oscar Lewicki (4), Robin Quaison (5), Alexander Milošević (4), Branimir Hrgota (3), Ludwig Augustinsson (2), John Guidetti (2), Simon Gustafson (2), Sebastian Holmén (2), Mikael Ishak (2)

England: John Stones (4), Calum Chambers (3), Harry Kane (2), Jack Butland (1), Carl Jenkinson (1)

Match fact
• When the teams met last, in the 2009 semi-final, tournament hosts Sweden came back from three goals down to draw 3-3, only to lose 5-4 on penalties. Check out the details and much more in our extensive match background.

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