The second cycle of matches concludes today, as Group D gives us two vital games. Like Group C, the two traditional powers from this set (England and France) fought to a draw in the first match. Unlike Group C, the other match did not go according to form, as Ukraine pulled a massive upset. Now, England faces a Sweden club fighting for its life, while France has to battle the surging hosts from Ukraine.
France head coach Laurent Blanc was surely exaggerating when he said that the French were underdogs going into this match. Nonetheless, he knows that there is a real possibility that his squad misses out on the quarterfinals with a poor performance today. Even a draw would leave France in a perilous position, so you know he'll throw everything he's got into this one.
Sweden, meanwhile, looked out of sorts in the first match. Their back line was a wreck, as Ukraine was able to find space to slip in behind them again and again. It's worth noting, though, that Ukraine was aggressive and usually had 3 or 4 players trying to surge forward. England took a somewhat tentative approach in the first match, but they might have to come out of the shell a bit if they want to try to mimic what Ukraine accomplished.
First match kicks off at noon my time, 6 PM local time. At the end of the day, we'll have a full recap of this weeks action and a look at the Blogger Bracket Challenge standings. Thanks for reading.