Friday, 15 June 2012

Euro 2012 result: England 3-2 Sweden

England came back from a goal down to secure a memorable comeback in their second group game against Sweden in Kiev.

Andy Carroll opened the scoring for England with an excellent header before Swedish defender Olof Mellberg scored two quick fire goals to give Sweden the lead. Substitute Theo Walcott inspired the fightback with a long range strike before crossing for Danny Welbeck to complete an extraordinary comeback.

The victory comes as a first competitive win against the Swedes and leaves Roy Hodgson's men only needing a point to qualify for the quarter finals.

Theo Walcott celebrates his goal against Sweden
It was England that started the better of the sides with Swedish keeper Andreas Isaksson saving a Scott Parker shot after the midfielder was set up by Welbeck. It was Welbeck who had the next chance guiding a James Milner cross wide of the post with his head.

Just like the game against France, it was England that opened the scoring with an excellent goal. Having been  brought in the team in place of Oxlade-Chamberlain. Andy Carroll bagged his first competitive goal for England heading in a world class cross from captain Steven Gerrard.

Sweden offered very little in the first half with Seb Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovich bringing comfortable saves out of Joe Hart. Ashley Young had England's next notable chance of the half dragging a shot into the side netting, when crossing the ball across the box looked a better option for the Man United winger.

Having started the first half well, it was the complete opposite in the second. England found themselves 2-1 down after only 15 minutes of the second half. Hero in the first half, Andy Carroll needlessly conceded a free kick 30 yards from goal. Hitting the wall with his first attempt, Ibrahimovich's second effort fell to the feet of Olof Mellberg. The centre back's shot was brilliantly saved by Hart who could only watch in despair as the ball ricocheted off Glen Johnson's stomach and into the net off the post.

It got a lot worse for England as ten minutes later, Mellberg was once again involved, heading in unmarked past Joe Hart to give Sweden a shock lead. The once solid defensive unit we were so used to before the tournament was no where to be seen as the former Aston Villa centre back gave England a mountain to climb.

Within moments of going behind, Hodgson brought Walcott on for the weary James Milner who had offered little in attack throughout the game. England had to score quickly if they were to mount a comeback to secure the much needed win. The equaliser came so close when John Terry was denied by a superb save from Isaksson at point blank range.

But from the resulting corner, super sub Walcott received the ball 25 yards out and struck a superb effort down the centre of the goal leaving Isaksson stranded. This was Walcott's fourth competitive goal for England having scored the previous three in his hat trick against Croatia four years ago.

With many England teams before, we would have seen them sit back and take a draw. But having seen group rivals France earlier win their game against Ukraine, England needed to take three points. Joe Hart was once again called upon turning round an Ibrahimovich shot past the post before England completed a remarkable comeback. Arsenal man Walcott drove to the byline cutting back a cross to which Danny Welbeck turned home brilliantly.

With ten minutes left to hold on, England dug deep to prevent their opponents from taking anything from the game. It could have been four near the end when Walcott crossed for Gerrard, whose volley was excellently saved by Isaksson.

The win leaves England within a point of the quarter finals, and leaves boss Hodgson with decisions to make over who will start up front with talisman Rooney available after serving his suspension.

England: Hart, G.Johnson, Terry, Lescott, A.Cole, Gerrard, Parker, Milner (Walcott 60') Young, Carroll, Welbeck (Oxlade- Chamberlain 89')

Sweden: Isaksson, Mellberg, Granqvist (Lustig 66') M.Olsson, Olsson, Elm (Wilhelmsson 81') Larsson, Svensson, Kallstrom, Ibrahimovich, Elmander (Rosenberg 79')
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

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