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Lotta Schelin has warned her Sweden team-mates that England might just be about to deliver their best performance at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™. If they do, Sweden's hopes of sparing themselves a quarter-final pairing with Germany, could be in peril.
Sweden are assured of their passage from Group C but still need another point to make sure of top spot and a last-eight tie against a third-placed team, whereas the pool runners-up will meet Germany. Not that Swden will settle for a draw. "We always want to win so we don't really care about anything else," Schelin said. "And we haven't given too much thought to avoiding Germany, it's this game that counts right now."
While Sweden have beaten Russia 3-0 and Italy 2-0, England lost 2-1 to the Azzurre and were then forced to retrieve a 2-0 deficit against Igor Shalimov's side before winning 3-2. "We always thought England would be the toughest opponent in the group and nothing has changed," added Schelin. "We have good feelings after the first two games and maybe England don't but you never know with England. They might have needed some games to get going and maybe they will be at their best against us."
Schelin was delighted to open her account for the tournament against Italy, scoring after eight minutes having seen a golden chance come and go in the opening seconds. "The first chance came so quickly that it took me by surprise but I didn't worry when it didn't go in. I thought it was going to be my day and that's how it turned out," she said. "We can raise our level and that's the good part. At the same time we knew, against Russia and Italy, that having gone two goals up that it would probably be enough because we are strong at closing down the game."
That is an understatement. The evidence suggests that one goal is enough for Sweden to win a game because Thomas Dennerby's side do not concede goals. Not one in eight qualifying ties and none to date in Finland.
It may be that centre-back Sara Larsson's hamstring strain leaves her sidelined again but in attack Jessica Landström is over her shoulder injury and challenging to start. "Physically I'm as fit as I can be," said Landström. "I've done a lot of running even though I haven't taken part in match-like exercises until now and I hope to get some play against England."
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