2nd game of the night kicked off just a few minutes after the 1st game, which was delayed because of the weather. England took on Sweden, who had zero points on the board and in danger of elimination if they lost. England came into the game with a somewhat credible draw against the French. However, they had a different game plan against the Swedes, as they claimed they could more than match the quality of Swedish players; something they could not do against France. Sweden too were looking to take the game to the English as they had no choice but to get 3 points out of this game. It turned out to be an extremely open game; one of the best games of the tournament so far. Both teams went at each other from the start and it was end to end. Even though the speed of the movement wasn’t as quick as you expect in a Spain’s game but it was still very exciting. Andy Carroll had been called upon, after relentless criticism of his season at Liverpool FC. In the preview, I talked about how a few strikers had been criticized but have delivered in this tournament. Andy also silenced some of his critics last night with a hard working display. He opened the scoring with a fine header from an excellent cross by Steven Gerard early on. Sweden showed a little more urgency after that and attacked England in numbers. It paid off soon as a free kick landed kindly for Mellberg, who was culpable for the England goal; his placed shot was brilliantly kept out by Hart. However, the deflection from the save hit Johnson and went inside the net. Sweden were in the ascendancy after that and soon went ahead from another set piece. This time Mellberg actually beat Joe Hart, after Larsson curved in a superb free kick. England were a bit shocked after that and seemed a bit disjointed in their attacks. Theo Walcott soon came on for Milner and suddenly England found that extra gear going forward. Ball landed in front of Theo after a clearance from a corner as he hit a fierce shot past the goal keeper from outside the box. It looked like the ball took the slightest of deflection to wrong for the keeper. England took encouragement from that goal and kept attacking Sweden. Theo again was at the centre of it as he sped past two defenders to cross in for Welbeck, who finished with a fine looking back heel. The comeback was complete from England to calm some of those nerves on the bench. Sweden pushed forward really hard after that but England managed to hold on to claim their first victory in the group. They now share top spot with France with 4 points each.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Theo Walcott
He was on the pitch for only a handful of minutes but he proved the difference between the two sides. He came on when the chips were down and put energy into the goal. He scored his goal well to put England level and assisted the goal which put England in the lead. He may deserve a start against Ukraine.
FLOP OF THE MATCH: Zlatan Ibrahimovich and his massive Ego.
He was extremely poor in the game. It seemed like a spoilt brat walking around casually in the middle of the park. His movement was extremely lethargic; I made a point of tracking his movement off the ball and it remained like that for almost all of the game. His passing was very shoddy when he was in good position. He often took the shot when teammates were in much better position. He acted like a super star but played like an amateur. He ran Robben very close to the title of ‘worst team player’ of the tournament.
POST MATCH REACTION:
- Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
I’m really disappointed. So far we have played two really good halves, one OK half, and one bad one, and we’re here with zero points. The difference between England and us, they were more effective than us and that’s why they won the game, but I feel really bad for the players.
We have a saying in Swedish, ‘The operation was really good but the patient died’. That’s how I feel today
- Roy Hodgson, England manager
The feeling is one of a job well done. At this level of football, where the games are always so close, when the final whistle blows and you’ve got the three points there’s an element of relief as well.
FROM HERE ON:
- Sweden: unfortunately it’s curtains for the Swedes. I had actually tipped them to progress to the next round as runners-up in the group. I, like everyone else, was shocked by the poor display they put out from both games. They now play against France in the last game; a match which has nothing more than pride for the Swedes.
- England: A much better performance from the English. Defense has looked a bit shaky from set pieces, which is very uncharacteristic of John Terry and Lescott. However, it is obvious that they do possess some quality going forward as well, which they did not look to bank into in the game against France. Next they face Ukraine in what might be a do or die game for both teams.
RANDOM THOUGHT OF THE MATCH: After Sweden went in front with Mellberg’s goal, Zlatan unleashed a verbal attack on Joe Hart for some reason. I wonder if Hart returned the compliment at full time.
- Theo Walcott salutes Danny Welbeck after England winner against Sweden (thesun.co.uk)
- Sweden 2-3 England: Euro 2012 match report and pictures (thesun.co.uk)
- Euro 2012: Sweden v EnglandLive – BBC Sport (bbc.co.uk)