England 3 Sweden 2

Danny Welbeck

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.


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