The Reuters global sports blog
Swedes must match England’s fighting spirit – Hysen
Former Sweden defender Glenn Hysen is at Euro 2012 as a fan and he told Left Field that his nation will have to “show some balls” if they are to match England’s fighting spirit in their Group D clash in Kiev on Friday.
“It’ll be tough, but if the players show that they have balls we can do it,” said Hysen, whose son Tobias is part of Erik Hamren’s Sweden squad.
Capped 68 times for Sweden, the former Liverpool and Fiorentina defender said he expects Sweden will have to battle hard for victory.
“They (England) have fighting spirit, so I think the match against England, we have to have guys that stand up because they are going to fight like hell.”
Known for his no-nonsense defending style, Hysen has little time for those who criticised the Swedes for conceding goals in friendlies in the lead-up to Euro 2012.
“Forget about the friendlies. You have guys playing that don’t want to get injured, so they don’t matter a damn.
“If you look at the goals (in the opening 2-1 defeat by Ukraine), the first one is a class finish, you can’t really say anyone let themselves down. For the second (defender Mikael) Lustig should have stayed on the post. But I’m confident we can win.”
Hysen said England are weakened by the absence of key players, but that the low expectations of the team could spur them on.
“Their weakness in terms of this championship is that they’ve lost Rooney, who is missing for two games, Lampard is gone. But for the first time in a long time they haven’t been hyped in the English media.
“It’s always the case with the Euros or the World Cup- ‘now dammit, we’ll make the semis, the final’. This time they don’t have that pressure so maybe they’ll lift themselves.”
He’s also convinced that Sweden can get the better of France in the final group game.
“France have a great attack with Nasri, Benzema, Ribery but I don’t really know about their defence. Their goalkeeper flaps a bit. I don’t really know about the French, anything could happen,” he said
Asked about his boundless optimism, the 52-year-old laughed. “I have said from the beginning that they can make the semi-final and I can’t change that now.”