Jonson: We can upset Sven's men

Former Norwich City winger Mattias Jonson admits Sweden are likely to be regarded as underdogs when they meet England in the final World Cup Group B match on June 20.

Former Norwich City winger Mattias Jonson admits Sweden are likely to be regarded as underdogs when they meet England in the final World Cup Group B match on June 20.

But Jonson, 32, now in his 10th year as an international, says that's certainly not the case in the players' eyes as Sven-Goran Eriksson's side will have to upset the record books if they are to beat their manager's compatriots for the first time in 38 years.

“It's a crazy fact that but it's one that is true for a reason,” said Jonson, who came on at the start of the second half as Sweden were held to a 1-1 draw by Chile on Friday night.

“England are a very good team, there's no doubt about that, and they have some excellent individual players but we will be going into the game with a lot of confidence.

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“Our main aim has to be to qualify from the group and hopefully both teams will already have six points from their first two matches, so the pressure of qualifying will have gone. If that's the case then both teams will be able to play relaxed football and that should make for a very good game.”

He added: “I think looking at the game now, a draw would be a good result for both teams.”

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When the draw for the World Cup finals was announced on December 9, there were many smiles from the England camp, particularly on the face of Swede Eriksson.

But there would have been knowing grins from the Swedish contingent because of the Scandinavians' recent record against the English.

The last time England managed a victory over the Swedes was in 1968 when ex-City player Martin Peters, Bobby Charlton and Roger Hunt were on the scoresheet in a rare 3-1 win.

And when the two sides line up in Cologne, the Blagult (blue and yellow) as they are known, will again fancy their chances of upsetting the English.

Jonson, who plays for Djurgarden FC after leaving Norwich last summer having made 30 appearances, said: "We have players in top clubs who have become individual stars in their own right and we haven't had that for a while.

"Before, it was always based on team spirit and hard work with no stars. Now we have famous players with experience of playing in the Champions League.

"That takes away a bit of our respect for the big countries and those players also know what it's like to play against the big players each week.

"Hopefully, after we qualify from the group stages anything is possible.”

Eriksson is still highly thought of in his homeland and Jonson is relishing the latest encounter with his countryman.

"There is always a lot of hype and build up when we play against Sven, but once you get on the pitch you don't think about it too much. As a player I don't think about it to be honest. If I play against England it will be to beat them and not the manager.”

Jonson, who has only just recently recovered from a slight hamstring strain, also admitted he felt a huge amount of sympathy for his former team-mate Robert Green, whose World Cup dream was dashed by injury.

He declared: “I watched the game and I have to say I feel very sorry for Robert and I wish him a speedy recovery.

“But that is football and injuries happen. He is a strong person and I am sure that he will be able to bounce back from it with Norwich next season.”

Eriksson is still in search of his first win over his homeland after two friendly draws and the World Cup stalemate in Japan.

And he knows he must overturn an impressive record and a bullish Sweden camp if he is to return home with his pride intact.

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