Sweden - France Preview: Les Bleus need just a point to progress against already-eliminated Swedes
The French can still be knocked out if they lose and Ukraine beat England but would take an unlikely goal-difference swing, as Yann M'Vila should play his first game of Euro 2012
By John Stammers
Granqvist, Mellberg, J.Olsson, M.Olsson
Larsson, Kallstrom, Svensson, Elm
Debuchy, Koscielny, Mexes, Clichy
Ribery, Nasri, Menez
Erik Hamren has no fresh fitness doubts heading into the last game of Group D with France. However, Mikael Lustig, who missed large amounts of his domestic season with injury, will probably remain sidelined with the hip problem that forced him out of the loss to England.
Jonas Olsson is expected to play at centre-back once more, with Andreas Granqvist continuing at full-back. Further up the pitch, Johan Elmander came back into the XI against Roy Hodgson's side after being ruled out of the game with the co-hosts, but faces competiton from Markus Rosenberg up front, while Ola Toivonen could come back in for Anders Svensson if the boss wanted to opt for a more attacking approach.
Yohan Cabaye has been nursing a slight knock on the leg, which forced him to train separately from the rest of the team during the week. He could therefore be replaced by Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, who revealed that he was fit enough to play in the 2-0 win over Ukraine after he missed the opening-day draw with England with injury.
In defence, Gael Clichy is expected to continue at left-back after coming in for Patrice Evra in the victory over Oleg Blokhin's troops, but Laurent Koscielny could be in line to make his competitive debut with Adil Rami not having the best of games last time out.
Elsewhere, Karim Benzema will have to hold off competition from Olivier Giroud up front from following the Real Madrid striker's failure to find the net at Euro 2012 so far, while Jeremy Menez should keep his place in the side after scoring against Ukraine.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- France will progress to the knockout stages with a win or a draw, while they can only be eliminated if both themselves and England lose, and a mathematical miracle allows the Three Lions to progress ahead of them.
- Before their 2-0 win over Ukraine, France had never won a European Championship match with neither Michel Platini or Zinedine Zidane in the team.
- Les Bleus lost only once in their past seven competitive matches.
- Current France boss Laurent Blanc (pictured) played for his country in the two sides' only meeting at a major tournament; a 1-1 draw in Stockholm at Euro 1992.
- Sweden, on the other hand, have already had their group-stage exit confirmed by losing to both Ukraine and England.
- The Blagult's most recent victory against the French, competitive or friendly, was in a World Cup qualifier in 1969.
- Four of the current Sweden squad, Johan Elmander, Andreas Isaksson, Kim Kallstrom and Christian Wilhelmsson have played, or still do play, in Ligue 1.
- In the 3-2 defeat to England, Olof Mellberg (34 years and 286 days) became Sweden's oldest scorer at a European Championship, surpassing Henrik Larsson (32 years and 276 days).
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Top 3 Predictions
Sweden 1-2 France
- 20.17 %
Sweden 0-2 France
- 17.2 %
Sweden 1-3 France
- 12.59 %
|Euro 2012 (EC)||19 Jun 2012||Sweden 2 - France 0|
|International Friendlies (FR)||20 Aug 2008||Sweden 2 - France 3|
|26 Mar 2013||Slovakia 0 - Sweden 0||FR|
|22 Mar 2013||Sweden 0 - Republic of Ireland 0||WCQE|
|6 Feb 2013||Sweden 2 - Argentina 3||FR|
|26 Jan 2013||Sweden 3 - Finland 0||FR|
|23 Jan 2013||Sweden 1 - Korea DPR 1||FR|
|Returns:||Sweden £55.00||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £70.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||France £460.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|-||Hatem Ben Arfa|
The 29-year-old put in a decent display against England, providing a number of defence splitting passes and also working hard to get back and break up opposition attacks himself, and could be key in a tricky midfield battle against les Bleus. His knowledge of the game in France is vital if Sweden are to savour any success at the last attempt in this tournament, having plied his trade for both Rennes and presently Olympique Lyonnais.
The Bayern Munich winger was a lot nearer to his sublime best in the 2-0 win over Ukraine after a subdued opening game against England. Though he is yet to get on the scoresheet himself, he created a number of openings for team-mates in the match with the co-hosts and should really have been rewarded with a handful of assists. He'll be looking to finally make the net ripple and reproduce the pre-tournament form that saw himself and Karim Benzema shine.
France have shown both grit and determination in the draw with England, along with sheer class going forward in the 2-0 win over co-hosts Ukraine. Therefore, while Hamren's men have pride to play for and could provide a stubborn resistance, they could be in for a receiving end of a heavy defeat.