Skipper Steven Gerrard is confident England will finally gain their first win over Sweden in a competitive match if they emulate the performance they gave in their UEFA EURO 2012 opener against France.
England have failed to overcome the Swedes in seven previous FIFA World Cup™ or EURO encounters ahead of tomorrow's Group D clash in Kiev. But Gerrard is adamant that sequence should end, even allowing for the threat posed by Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
"I would think the same level of performance against France will be good enough to beat Sweden," Gerrard said. "I would say so with all due respect to Sweden who are a good, strong team, but they are not France. I think we can be a little bit more bold and a little bit more ambitious and get at the Swedes a little bit more. We are confident if we reach the same level of performance, it will be enough for a victory."
"Although we are confident, that's not to say we won't be trying to learn from the mistakes we made in the first game," Gerrard went on. "We've analysed what we did right and wrong against France and we will be trying to improve on our performance as well.
"I'm really happy with the start we've made to the tournament. It was really solid and we've left ourselves a good platform to build on," the Liverpool player added. "The boys are confident we will be on four points after this next game and that will be a good start to this group."
Gerrard knows England have to counter the danger of Ibrahimovic if they are to inflict upon Sweden their second defeat of the tournament. "Ibrahimovic is a world-class talent and he is very dangerous so we need the same level of commitment defensively to try and stop him," he said. "If you give him time and space, he can hurt any team and we are well aware of him.
"We've watched videos of him and we are going to watch some more so we are going to be well prepared for Ibrahimovic," Gerrard added. "But he is not the only good player Sweden have. We have to worry about them as a whole team. They get dangerous crosses into the box, they are a big side. There is a lot more threat from Sweden than Ibrahimovic, but he is a world-class talent."