Euro 2012: England vs Sweden Breakdown

on June 16 2012 10:55 AM
Euro 2012: England vs Sweden Breakdown

Danny Welbeck's sublime finish in the 78th minute secured a dramatic win for England and puts them in a strong position to progress from the group stages.

England has always struggled against Sweden, a 'bogey' team if you will, and had never previously beaten them in a competitive match. That all changed last night thanks to a superb cameo from Theo Walcott who scored and created a goal to ensure victory for England.

The game started slowly in the Olympic stadium with Scott Parker's stinging shot being the only notable action in the first 20 minutes, but then the game burst into life when Gerrard crossed from 30 yards and Carroll powered a supreme header into the bottom left corner of the net. Carroll got ahead of his marker and executed his header perfectly giving the keeper no chance.

After the goal Sweden reacted with an immediate counter attack and a period of pressure with star player Ibrahimovic being the catalyst behind this. However, England were able to negotiate safely to half-time without too much worry.   

Sweden's coach Erik Hamren had the better of the half time talks as Sweden turned the game on its head after the interval. A needless free-kick in a dangerous area conceded by Andy Carroll led to set piece specialist Seb Larsson swinging in a menacing ball and Olof Mellberg eventually bundling it in, despite a desperate attempt by Glen Johnson to clear. The ex Villa defender certainly looked up for it during the game and scored a second soon after. A second set piece led to England's undoing and Mellberg was gifted a free header from six yards which he buried into the net.

This led to Hodgson making a tactical change bringing on the electric Theo Walcott for the, at that time, ineffective James Milner. This proved to be a masterclass as, with only his third touch, Walcott scored with a dipping shot from 25 yards as Sweden desperately tried to clear a corner.

Walcott was involved in the winner too when, following a decent passing move by England. He used his pace to burst in-between two defenders and cross into Welbeck, who scored with an instinctive backheel on the turn. That goal proved to be the eventual winner and sent Sweden flat-packing out of the tournament.

Hodgson will have plenty to ponder on England's journey back to Krakow. Good displays by Carroll and Welbeck will give him a selection dilemma ahead of the return of Wayne Rooney and a great display by Theo Walcott will have him pushing for a start. Elsewhere, in defence a shaky performance by Glen Johnson will have Phil Jones and Martin Kelly pushing for a place.

Overall it was an encouraging performance with the Three Lions finally showing some fighting spirit and resilience that had been missing for a while. England still have a lot of work to do to overcome hosts Ukraine and try to top group D but, with a happy squad at his disposal and an ever growing in stature manager, England look well placed to progress.