Elm confident Sweden can 'step up' against England

The midfielder claims his side were 'insecure' in their Group D opener against Ukraine, but their second half display proves they can overcome Roy Hodgson's men
Sweden midfielder Rasmus Elm believes his side have the necessary qualities to beat England in their next Euro 2012 fixture, providing they raise their level of performance on Friday.

Two goals from Ukraine legend Andriy Shevchenko saw Erik Hamren’s troops go down 2-1 in their opening match of the tournament, leaving them bottom of Group D following France and England's 1-1 draw earlier on Monday.

Elm concedes that his side were not good enough over 90 minutes against the co-hosts, but insists they have what it takes to frustrate the Three Lions, but only if they can replicate their second-half display against the co-hosts.

“We have to show more against England," he told reporters. "Yesterday we were maybe a little bit too insecure and the second half was much better than the first.”

5/2 Sweden are 5/2 with Sportingbet to beat England on Friday
“I think when we tried to force it we showed we are a good team, making good chances against a good team also.

"If we play like we played in the first half, it’s going to be difficult to be almost any team."

Coach Erik Hamren reportedly branded his players as ‘cowards’ following the defeat in Kiev, and while Elm feels his coach’s comments were exaggerated, he called on his side to raise their game against Roy Hodgson’s men.

“I don’t think he necessarily used the word coward, but we were insecure and everyone could see that,” he added. 

“We have to step up and show how much we want this. If we do this, we can beat England.”

Team-mate Kim Kallstrom admitted he had not seen enough of England’s match with France to comment on the strength of Sweden’s next opponents, but insisted the first round of results prove that preparation for the tournament counts for little.

When asked what he thought of the Three Lions’ display, he said: “I don’t know, I saw the first 15 minutes yesterday. They had a tough preparation, but got a good result. We had a bad preparation, but not a good result. So it’s not about the preparation, just the three times 90 minutes of football.”

The Olympique Lyonnais midfielder faces a stern test on Friday against opposite number Steven Gerrard on Friday, but nonetheless is looking forward to the battle with England’s skipper, adding: “He’s a world-class player and I hope to do well against him.”