Danny Welbeck conjured up a wonderfully inventive finish to give England a 3-2 victory over Sweden after an enthralling second-half in Kiev.

Leading by a goal at the break through Andy Carroll's header, Sweden came right back at their opponents to move in front courtesy of an own-goal from Glen Johnson and an Olof Mellberg header. But with their hopes of progressing in real jeopardy, England fought back to claim the three points as substitute Theo Walcott struck, before Welbeck's winner 12 minutes from time.

The result leaves England on four points in Group D and now strong favorites with France to make the last eight. A point against Ukraine next Tuesday will be enough to ensure their passage. Sweden, meanwhile, can start packing their bags with two defeats leaving them with no hope of prolonging their stay in Poland and Ukraine.

England coach Roy Hodgson had talked at length in the build-up about Sweden's propensity for conceding headed goals. And with Andy Carrroll and Danny Welbeck up front, supported by Ashley Young and James Milner out wide, the game plan was clear.

Sweden got an early warning of what was to come as Milner gained half-a-yard of space on the right before whipping in a near post cross that Welbeck really should have done better with than head well wide across goal.

But England would capitalize on their early good spell midway through the opening half minute. Steven Gerrard angled a fine ball from deep to the back post and, just as he had been picked to do, Carroll exposed Sweden's weakness in the air to power a fine header past Andreas Isaksson.

After going behind Sweden came into the game more as they looked for a way back into the match. Perhaps unsurprisingly, everything was going through Zlatan Ibrahimovic and, as in their openign defeat to Ukraine, he looked like the only player capable of forcing an opening.

For the most part, though, England was doing well to keep the forward away from goal. Two England challenges flew in on Ibrahimovic to block his shot from the edge of the box and help make it a comfortable save for Joe Hart.

Though Sweden had the better of things toward the end of the half, England came close to adding a second on the break. Ashley Cole played Young in behind the defense with a one-touch pass down the left, but after taking the ball inside the Manchester United man never look set as he dragged his effort wide of the near post.

Both sides had showed plenty of endeavor, but it had been a largely scrappy affair. A theme that more than manifested itself in the nature of Sweden's equalizer just four minutes after the break.

After his own free-kick came straight back to him off the wall, Ibrahimovic tried a flying volley that deflected once more this time to find Olof Mellberg poorly being played onside by a lax Johnson. Mellberg's shot was saved by Hart but bounced straight into the chest of Johnson who was unable to keep the ball out despite a desperate attempt on the line.

Having a miserable time of things, Johnson was almost caught out once more before making a fine saving challenge to prevent Rasmus Elm receiving the ball with a clear path to goal.

But, just as Sweden had been exposed in the first-half, England produced some awful defending from an aerial ball into the area to enable Sweden to take the lead.

Sebastian Larsson put in a trademark free-kick of real quality right onto the edge of the six-yard box and, at the head of a queue of three Swedish players left inexcusably unmarked, Mellberg rose to head home.

On the verge of being in a real hole at these European Championships, England came up with a vital response. John Terry looked certain to have made it 2-2 as he headed a Johnson cross at goal from close range, but Isaksson produced one of the saves of the tournament to keep the ball at bay.

Unfortunately for the Swedish number one, his good work was immediately undone by the cruelest of deflections. From the resulting corner, the ball broke out to Theo Walcott and with the substitute's first involvement he hit a shot from 20 yards that deflected off one of the swarm of bodies congested around the area to leave the unsighted and wrong-footed Isaksson with little chance to recover

Suddenly an uninspiring game had become one of the best of the competition to date. And the action showed no signs of relenting as both sides poured forward in search of a crucial winner.

Kim Kallstrom missed another fine chance as he side-footed wide at the near post following some good work by Martin Olsson down the left.

Ibrahimovic was still looking menacing too, as he produced a superb shot across goal from the edge of the box that Hart did fantastically to tip round the post.

It was England, though, who got the better of the see-saw battle as Hodgson's substitute once again came up trumps.

Walcott burst through two Swedish defenders down the right of the area and chipped the ball across goal and with the ball traveling behind him Welbeck produced a finish of real quality to flick the ball into the net.

As Sweden tried in vain to come back once more, England almost took advantage of the openings at the other end as Walcott surged clear to cross for Gerrard whose side-footed volley was repelled by another strong save by Isaksson.

That proved the last action of a unrelenting 45 minutes as England breathed a huge sigh of relief at the final whistle. There may be plenty of weaknesses on display in this England team, particularly at the back, but on this night England can be proud of their resilience that should now see them into the last eight.


Sweden 2-3 England (Euro 2012 - Group D) All Goals by fasthighlights-2012