Match in a sentence
A game that was filled with many defensive errors saw a very mediocre England side claw back from a one goal deficit to defeat Sweden 3-2.
- Hodgson’s men were set up in a 4-4-2 and the only change from the side that played France was striker Andy Carroll who replaced winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
- This change pushed Ashley Young to the left flank and saw Danny Welbeck who ran the channels well against France operate behind Carroll, as well as hold the responsibility of dropping into the midfield when England didn’t have the ball.
- Sweden as well operated in this variation of a 4-4-2 which was more of a 4-4-1-1 which was a bit of a shocker as they usually operate in a 4-2-3-1 that allows Ibrahimovic to drift into the midfield. Johan Elmander returned to the side to lead the line and Zlatan Ibrahimovic played right behind him. We also saw Anders Svensson partner Kim Kallstrom in the middle and Ola Toivonen was pushed to the bench in place of Rasmus Elm on the left flank.
- In the first half both teams seemed to have the same approach to the game and that was to sit deep and soak up pressure. It was dire, both teams were giving up possession easily and it looked like we might get our first 0-0 game of the tournament.
- Luckily in the 23rd minute England took the lead when Steven Gerrard whipped in a great cross to an unmarked Andy Carroll who nodded the ball past goal keeper Andrea Isaksson. It was the sixth headed goal Sweden had conceded in their last four games and could explain why Hodgson chose to go with Carroll as he provides an aerial threat.
- Andy Carroll’s selection was justified through the goal but the side as a whole did/ does have a problem when Carroll is on the field. England becomes more one dimensional, and sometimes they try to be too direct. When going forward they seem to just lob balls towards Carroll and lose possession far too easily, yes when you are chasing a game it is understandable, but they had every opportunity to grab the game by the throat and failed too. Although they are a better team without the ball, with so many games in a small space of time, these long periods of defending might catch up to them depending on how far they go in this tournament.
- The second half started in fine fashion as Sweden scored two goals in the matter of 10 minutes. Glen Johnson will be held responsible for both goals, and it left many England supporters still in shock that Micah Richards wasn’t initially selected.
- The first goal was an own goal from Johnson, that was caused by Johnson playing the Sweden players on side and then knocking Olof Mellbergs attempt into the back of the net.
- The second goal came 10 minutes later when Sebastian Larsson’s curling free kick was met yet again by Mellberg whose header flew past Joe Hart and made it 2-1. Johnson left Mellberg unmarked and in 10 minutes Johnson was exposed for the RB he truly is. Average!
- Hodgson then made a game changing sub by taking off James Milner for Theo Walcott. It was Walcott’s first appearance in the tournament and he made the best of it four minutes in as he tied the game with a drive from about 25 yards that Isaksson made a howler out of.
- In the 78th minute, it was Walcott again involved as he skipped past Larsson and found Danny Welbeck who produced a sublime finish that saw him back heel the cross past Isaksson and put England in front 3-2.
- We witnessed another day of excitement at Euro 2012, although the football was merely poor, we learned a lot about this England team. Compared to recent years they aren’t as talented, nor do they strike much fear in any team’s eye. They do have belief in themselves and also in Hodgson and they showed they’re character tonight. Nonetheless, they were average at best tonight and were lucky to play a very poor Sweden side.
- Hodgson will ever so rightly receive plaudits for going with Andy Carroll and for his timing of the Walcott sub. That leaves Roy with three wins and one tie since becoming the England gaffer.
- Unlike those teams of the golden generation this team might play ugly but they get results, and have now put themselves one win away from a quarterfinal berth which most will consider a successful tournament. Remember Hodgson was hired a month ago and has been without his many key players, including his best player Wayne Rooney who will be eligible to start against Ukraine.
- As for Zlatan Ibrahimovic he was yet again fantastic today. I’m not a Ibrahimovic fan, but like Cristiano Ronaldo he doesn’t seem to replicate his goal scoring form on the international stage. This decline is simply down to the lack of world-class/class players around him, compared to the ones he has at AC Milan.
- This result has officially eliminated Sweden from Euro 2012. In all fairness they have no one to blame but themselves as they took the lead twice in this tournament and ended up losing both games.
- Theo Walcott
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
- Steven Gerrard
Honourable mention to Olof Mellberg for his involvement in the own goal and scoring the second goal. Danny Welbeck deserves one too for that exquisite finish to win the game for England