England do not have a recent history of high-scoring, exciting encounters at international tournaments and the players of a tactically drilled, hard-working Roy Hodgson team tend to be even less likely. However, in a Euro 2012 game against Sweden that England really could not lose, both sides showed real attacking intent, and this led to an excellent game of football.
A 1-1 draw in the opening game against France meant that should England win then they would probably only need a draw in their next, very tricky, encounter with co-hosts Ukraine. Against what was deemed to be a shaky and small Sweden defence, Hodgson opted for Andy Carroll up front to bully them, alongside a player who has been a favourite of his during his time as England manager, Danny Welbeck.
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England certainly started the brighter of the two teams, with Carroll causing real problems whenever they looked to cross. The first genuine effort on goal, however, came from Scott Parker, who saw his fine strike from range pushed away by Andreas Isaksson in the Sweden goal. For all Carroll's strength so far, the best headed chance fell to Welbeck, who met a James Milner cross but could not get any power on it.
Carroll did not have to wait much longer for a golden chance. He rose feet off the ground to plant Steven Gerrard's cross from the right wing past Isaksson for the goal that England deserved. After the opener, Sweden came into the game, but they were still not showing enough - including from Zlatan Ibrahimovic - that suggested there were four more goals in the contest.
Kim Kallstrom shot narrowly over and Joe Hart was also called into action with a sprawling stop at the feet of Johan Elmander, but the sides went in at 1-0. It did not take long in the second half for Sweden to pull level, however. Ibrahimovic put in a free kick which wasn't cleared, and Olof Mellberg scrambled the ball into the net for 1-1.
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It quickly became 2-1 to the Swedes as England capitulated in defence again. It came from another free kick, this time from Sebastian Larsson, as Mellberg was given a clear sight to jump despite being surrounded by a number of England shirts. He planted a low header past Hart and England were suddenly staring at a poor early exit. However, Hodgson had an ace up his sleeve.
On came Theo Walcott for Milner, and this was the decisive change that turned things in the Three Lions' favour. He had a big say in both goals, not least for the equaliser. His swerving shot from outside the box took a deflection, but it was a fine strike at a time England might just have started to doubt the result, with 25 minutes left to play.
Then there was a typical piece of play from Walcott. He darted directly into the box, to the byline and his low cross was diverted into the net brilliantly by the feet of Welbeck. Another chance fell Gerrard's way soon after, but England had done what was required and now a draw was definitely enough against Ukraine to qualify for the next round.
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