England 3 Sweden 2
England 3 Sweden 2, Olympic Stadium, UEFA European Championship Finals Group Stage, June 15, 2012. The Three Lions edged out Sweden by 3-2 in front of over 70,000 people in Kiev courtesy of a goal each from Andy Carroll, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck. And as always, John Terry was excellent in defence for England with several crucial tackles.
England´s European Championship team entered this fixture on the back of an evenly contested 1-1 draw with old rivals France in Donetsk, whereas Sweden had suffered a close 2-1 defeat at the hands of co-hosts Ukraine in Kiev. The pugnacious Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a good chance to score for the yellow shirts against the run of the play after 20 minutes of fierce action, but his low drive was brilliantly saved by Manchester City and England custodian Joe Hart. Then in the 23rd minute of the first period of the tie, Roy Hodgson´s players opened the scoring account when a long and prescise cross from smooth passing midfield orchestrator Steven Gerrard found his fellow Liverpool teammate Andy Carroll who rose beautifully off the ground to head the ball past completely helpless Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson and into the net. The Swedes immediately picked themselves up and pushed hard forward in desperate search for an equalising goal but the scoreline remained unchanged up until the sound of the half-time whistle. A mere our minutes into the second period, however, a Zlatan free-kick rebounded off the England wall and back to the ponytailed marksman who pushed it through to Olof Mellberg. The thirty-four-year-old defender initially had his shot saved by Hart, but the ball eventually hit unfortunate Liverpool defender Glen Johnson and ended up into the back of the net.
Mellberg then went on to score again as he headed home another free-kick in the 59th minute to put Erik Hamren´s team ahead for the first time in the match. But Sweden´s lead was not to last for long, though, as James Milner replacement Theo Walcott hit back with an absolutely astonishing effort from twenty-five yards out five minutes later. The Three Lions now sensed the smell of blood in the air and the opposition´s goalkeeper all of a sudden became a busier man. The English side continued to batter at the opposing defence and with twelve minutes left on the referee´s watch they finally secured the victory in the tough and physical clash when Manchester United´s Danny Welbeck converted a Theo Walcott cross. After beating The Blue Yellow 3-2, England would now face Ukraine in Donetsk in their final group meeting. England Team: Joe Hart, John Terry, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Ashley Cole, James Milner, Scott Parker, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Young, Andy Carroll, Danny Welbeck. Substitutes: Jack Butland, Rob Green, Martin Kelly, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Jordan Henderson, Phil Jones, Stewart Downing, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jermain Defoe, Theo Walcott. Sweden Team: Andreas Isaksson, Andreas Granqvist, Jonas Olsson, Olof Mellberg, Seb Larsson, Martin Olsson, Rasmus Elm, Kim Kallstrom, Anders Svensson, Johann Elmander, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Substitutes: Par Hansson, Johan Wiland, Mikael Antonsson, Mikael Lustig, Emir Bajrami, Samuel Holmen, Pontus Wernbloom, Christian Wilhelmsson, Behrang Safari, Tobias Hysen, Markus Rosenberg, Ola Toivonen.