England face Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden tonight as Paddy Power release a new free bets offer and the latest odds on England v Sweden, Ireland v Greece, Italy v France & Holland v Germany, as Roy Hodgeson makes plenty of changes to the side.
All eyes will be on Stockholm as the hosts celebrate the first game in their new stadium, with England a stand out price of 2/1 to secure victory.
It is therefore a special day for Sweden and they will hope it is the start of a positive new era. For England, it is an experimental friendly with lots of youngsters in the squad for a match that is in the middle of two busy Premier League weekends.
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With a number of high-profile players missing for the visitors – including Wayne Rooney who pulled out this week – there is a very different look to England’s squad, with Steven Gerrard the most experienced player, as 17 year old Raheem Sterling looks set to make his full international debut.
The England skipper has passed a fitness test and is set to win his 100th cap for England, so this will be a special moment for him. The same can be said for the likes of Tottenham’s Steven Caulker & Everton’s Leon Osman, Wilfried Zaha and Carl Jenkinson who are all hoping to make their England debuts.
Roy Hodgson will certainly get a good look at the fringe players as well as the youngsters as he looks to see who might be ready for international football in the not too distant future, as for once the pressure is off the Three Lions to get a result.
It is also a chance for the younger players to gain valuable experience, travelling to an away game with England and getting a taste of what it is like to be an international footballer.
This game isn’t capturing the imagination of the public, but it should be a memorable occasion for the players. Joe Hart should start in goal, with Steven Caulker brought in to partner Gary Cahill in the heart of defence, while Manchester United’s Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck will pose the threat up front.
These two teams met at Euro 2012 of course, with England securing a 3-2 win, their first victory over Sweden for many years. They would love to make it two wins in succession against them, but Wednesday night is not all about the result.
In fact, it is Sweden – who will have Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line – that will be more worried about the result. On Wednesday, they will want to mark the first game in their new stadium with a victory over top football nation.
If England can come away with some stand-out individual performances, no injuries and hope that the next generation has some potentially world-class players, they will be satisfied with their evenings work.