Hodgson happy despite defeat

15 November 2012 03:57:40 EST
Steven Gerrard picked up his 100th cap for England but the Liverpool star could not prevent defeat in Sweden.

England boss Roy Hodgson insists he was happy with his side's performance against Sweden on Wednesday, despite their 4-2 defeat.

The hosts took an early lead in Stockholm through Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, before Danny Welbeck equalised for England and Steven Caulker made it 2-1.

The visitors clung onto the lead in Stockholm until the 77th minute but the PSG striker grabbed three late goals, including a stunning bicycle kick from 30 yards, to condemn England to a 4-2 defeat.

Hodgson insists that he was happy with the overall performance, despite seeing England defeated inside 90 minutes for the first time as manager of the national side.

"I thought it was a good performance," Hodgson told BBC Sport. "For large periods I can be more than satisfied.

"Many players who got a chance came out with great credit. For long periods we were quite dominant and in control."

Hodgson handed debuts to goal scorer Caulker, Leon Osman, Raheem Sterling, Ryan Shawcross, Carl Jenkinson and Wilfried Zaha, while Jack Wilshere came off the bench to make his first appearance for England in over a year after a lengthy lay-off.

The former Liverpool boss was pleased with the way the debutants settled into the England side, although he admits inexperience may have played a part in England’s defeat.

He added: "I took the risk to give debutants a chance - obviously that will open things up - and I was hoping we'd hold out.

"I thought our passing and movement was good and when we took the 2-1 lead it was a correct assessment of what we had seen on the field. Ibrahimovic being kept on cost us a result.

"I thought the debutants were good, all of them did fine and I am certainly a wiser man than [I was] before this game, going into 2013.

"We were undone by some individual brilliance and maybe a bit of inexperience." 
England must now wait until February for their next fixture, a friendly against Brazil, while the next round of World Cup qualifiers take place in March.

Hodgson will be keen to keep an eye on his England players in the meantime, and Wilshere is available for Arsenal in Saturday's north London derby following a one match suspension.

Arsenal can be backed at 10/11 to come out on top in Saturday's early kick off, Spurs are 3/1 to seal the win and the draw can be backed at 13/5.

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