Date in your diary: Cologne, 20 June, Sweden v England
This will be seen as the key fixture in the group and Eriksson will not
need reminding that England do not have a happy record against his
homeland. The sides drew 1-1 in Saitama in Korea/Japan 2002 and the
Swedes then defeated England 1-0 in March 2004, continuing a long
unbeaten run against England which stretches back to 1968.
David v Goliath: Nuremberg, 15 June, England v Trinidad and Tobago
This will be an occasion to relish for the Caribbean first-timers, many
of whom ply their trade in England and Scotland.
History repeats itself: Berlin, 15 June, Sweden v Paraguay
The two nations met in the finals in Brazil in 1950. The game in
Curitiba ended 2-2 and that was enough for Sweden to win Group 3 and
progress to the next phase.
England will be favorites to win the group and take the next step on
the long road which they hope will see them claiming football's supreme
prize 40 years after they were crowned world champions in their own
country. However, Sweden, experienced campaigners at this level with
their 11th appearance in the finals, will be strong contenders and will
hope to improve on four years ago when they made it to the last 16.
Fourth in the South American qualifiers, Paraguay's aim will be to
survive the group stage, something they accomplished in each of the last
two finals. In qualifying, Anibal Ruiz's team managed a 1-0 victory at
home to Argentina, having earlier held the two-time FIFA World Cup
winners to a 0-0 draw in Buenos Aires. So they will not be lacking
Trinidad and Tobago may lack experience but in Leo Beenhakker they
have a coach who is no stranger to the highest level of competition,
guiding the Netherlands into the second round in Italy in 1990 when they
bowed out to eventual winners West Germany. Sheer enthusiasm alone is
bound to make them difficult opponents.
Did you know?
Trinidad and Tobago have never faced England and since 1985 have only
met one of the other teams in the group – Paraguay. In March 1989 the
two sides locked horns in two friendly fixtures, which ended 2-2 and