ANALYSIS: Southgate kryptonite stalls super Swedes

Alan O’Brien 

Four decades on from falling for the humble English 4-4-2, Sweden have yet to lose that loving feeling. Popularised in the late-seventies by emigrés Roy Hodgson and Bob Houghton, the quintessentially English system is still very much Swedish football’s go-to. How ironic, then, that the most English blueprint of all would falter at its originators’ hands. Continue reading

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ANALYSIS: Werner wide impact shows the folly of Sané snub

Alan O’Brien 

On this evidence, Germany’s problems are far from resolved. A win, of course, is a win. But Sweden, like Mexico before them, should have been out of sight before the Nationalmannschaft‘s second-half resurgence.

The “quicker defensive transitions” Joachim Low called for on Friday were not evident. Nor, for the most part, was the art of “getting attackers in behind Sweden’s defence.” For there was no space behind Sweden’s massed ranks. Nor, for that matter, was there any space between them: Low’s stubbornly narrow shape saw to that. Continue reading