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England Under-21s face defending champions in Euro opener

PUBLISHED: 13:30 16 June 2017

England U21s train ahead of their Euro 2017 opener against Sweden in Poland (pic Nick Potts/PA)

England U21s train ahead of their Euro 2017 opener against Sweden in Poland (pic Nick Potts/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal’s Holding and Chambers in finals squad

England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd admits they fear Sweden in their opening game of Euro 2017 because they cannot afford to be complacent.

The Young Lions, including Arsenal’s Rob Holding and Calum Chambers, face the defending champions in Poland today (Friday, 5pm), with Boothroyd insisting they must be respected.

Sweden have moaned they did not see a video of England’s 3-0 behind-closed-doors win over Iceland last weekend, although England are not obliged to provide one as it was not an official UEFA fixture.

Sweden boss Hakan Ericson has also said England are favourites for the Group A game in Kielce but Boothroyd is wary of the opposition.

He said: “Of course we are, you don’t go into a game thinking you’re easily going to win. You have to have a bit of fear.

“It wasn’t a very good game anyway so I don’t think they want the tape.

“I think we have as much chance of winning the game as they have. They have won the tour before, they’re defending the trophy, and he’s a coach who has won the tournament so he has one up on me.

“If he thinks we’re favourites that’s great. If he thinks we’re big favourites perhaps they’ll not turn up and just give us the points.”

But Ericson believes he knows enough despite not seeing the video of the Iceland match.

“They have good organisation and had a good qualification, were unbeaten, and we saw them in their last two friendlies against Germany and Denmark,” he said.

“They had a problem against Germany and were very good against Denmark. Then they had a secret game against Iceland. We have some information but no pictures. We have the information we need.”

England are fifth favourites for the title in Poland, but Boothroyd feels all the nations are in the same boat.

He added: “We’ve all think we’ve got a chance of winning it but we’ve all got to get out of the groups, make sure we play well and get the little bit of luck we need. It doesn’t matter if we’ve favourites or not.”

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