Euro 2012: England and Sweden ready for battle

Friday sees the Euro 2012 match take place between England and Sweden at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Both teams have been through a difficult path to reach this stage of the championship.

Here is the story of how they qualified for Euro 2012:

England

England were placed in group G, where their competitors were Bulgaria, Wales and Switzerland, alongside tournament newcomers Montenegro.

Fabio Capello's team went through the whole of qualifying undefeated, but it was impossible to avoid problems.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption England drew 1-1 with France in their opening game at Euro 2012

At Wembley, England could not beat either Switzerland (2-2) or Montenegro (0-0), but they did manage to beat Wales by a single goal from Ashley Young.

In the last match, England drew with Montenegro - despite the fact that for half an hour they were leading the game by 2-0. This was thought to be due to the sending-off of the team's main striker, Wayne Rooney.

After having received a ridiculous red card, Rooney earned a three-match suspension for the Euro 2012 finals, which has since been reduced to two after an appeal.

Back in February, with the tournament just four months away, the team was left without a manager when Capello resigned.

In a friendly match against the Netherlands at Wembley, England lost 2-3 under the leadership of Stuart Pearce and Roy Hodgson is now the permanent manager of the team.

Sweden:

Before the draw for the qualifying groups, which took place back in February 2010, the Swedish team were placed in the second group of seeds, so had to go up against at least one top team.

This left them, quite frankly, out of luck as Sweden found themselves in the same group as World Cup runners-up the Netherlands.

However, with the other contenders in the group stage, things were relatively simple: neither Hungary nor Finland, or even Moldova and San Marino were seriously perceived as competitors.

The favourites progressed smoothly until September 2011, when Sweden suddenly lost against Hungary. But, given the lack of a real threat from any other team, the impact of this defeat was small.

Moreover, in the final match of Group E, the Scandinavians beat the Netherlands, which allowed them to directly book a ticket to the tournament.

After earning 24 points with a goal difference of +20, they became the best team among second-place teams in qualification.

No one can predict the end of this battle between these two powerful teams; people and fans are holding their breath, waiting for a spectacular show in Kiev.