Kallstrom at heart of more attacking side

SWEDEN have long been known for their durability and aerial prowess but under Erik Hamren have been praised for casting aside the shackles of the safety-first tactics of predecessor Lars Lagerback in favour of a more ambitious approach.

In fact analysis shows that the Scandinavians have steadily increased the number of shots per game over the past decade, from 5.25 at the 2002 World Cup to 6.67 at Euro 2008 and seven in Monday’s 2-1 defeat to Ukraine. In qualifiers, albeit against some weaker sides, they registered an average of 8.55 shots per match.

The Castrol Edge Performance data also highlights the relatively unheralded threat of attacking midfielder Kim Kallstrom.

In a team often overshadowed by mercurial forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Kallstrom could be overlooked, but the Lyon player has assisted a total of eight goals during qualifying and the finals – more than any other player from any team.

Data does back up Sweden’s reputation as strong in the heading department, although they are by no means the aerial titans of popular wisdom.

Of the 51 European nations involved in the Euro 2012 qualifiers, Hamren’s side were ranked eighth in terms of headed duels won, with 57.7 per cent. France, who were the most dominant in the air with 73.0 per cent, Italy, Spain and even Scotland were placed higher.

Similarly, Sweden were among the top 10 for headed goals, having nodded home four times during the qualifiers, but some way off the most prolific, Croatia, who registered with nine headers.

England would still be advised to keep the ball on the ground if they want to prosper, however. They were ranked 28th for aerial duels won with just 50.3 per cent and only scored twice with headers on their way to Poland-Ukraine.

Find out if your team has the strength to perform at Uefa Euro 2012 by visiting castroledge.com/euro2012