One day away from D-Day, the match day for group D that is, Johan Elmander has been given the go-ahead to be able to start against Ukraine. This does not however guarantee that Elmander will be starting the match. It will be up to Elmander to decide if he will be hindered by pain.
My gut feeling is that he will be starting and that would be a welcome return for his team mates. With his many runs deep up the pitch he creates room, and especially for Ibrahimovic. ‘Ibra’ would be the happiest to see Elmander back. His face lights up when he talks about the privileges of playing alongside Elmander.
Apart from Elmandergate the Swedish camp are not struggling with injuries to players. All are fit to such a degree that one wonders if Sweden might be the fittest team of all, at least pre-tournament.
In their first game Sweden will be playing Ukraine. This home nation is in my honest opinion the weakest team in the tournament, and anything but a win would be catastrophic for the Swedes. They will need the three points to be able to challenge for a place in the quarterfinals. And my feeling is that Sweden will score goals against Ukraine’s forth choice goalkeeper. Especially as an eager Elmander will run riot against Ukraine’s slow centre-backs.
Add to that the fact that Sweden enters the tournament on the back of four straight wins (Bahrain, Croatia, Iceland and Serbia) and the Ukraine are haunted by two straight losses (Austria and Turkey) and you have a confidence level that will be higher with the Swedes.
But as I touched upon in my previous entry Sweden will be conceding goals throughout this campaign. Let’s say Voronin scores one, and Sweden put three behind Pyatov, in goal.
As Ukraine, apart from playing the game on their home ground, get the home strip so you will get the privilege of seeing the best looking jersey of the tournament, Sweden’s away shirt. It’s a mix of the classical Peruvian striped national jersey and the Boca Juniors club jersey and if you have not seen it yet, you’re in for a treat.