On this day: England top Group B after draw with Sweden

On this day in 2006 England drew 2-2 with Sweden to top World Cup Group B.

On Thursday night England managed to break a new national record: the defeat to Uruguay meant that for the first time the Three Lions had lost their opening two World Cup group games. In 2006, rather than drawing the likes of Italy and Uruguay, England had Sweden, Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago in Group B.

It meant that, instead of the Three Lions being expected to struggle as they were in the build-up to the 2014 World Cup, England were meant to win their group to secure a safer passage into the quarter-finals. That, then, required anything other than a loss to Sweden in their final group game, having already beaten the two weaker teams.

David Beckham of England is tackled by Johan Elmander of Sweden during the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Group B match between Sweden and England  on June 20, 2006© Getty Images

Despite having already qualified, manager Sven-Goran Eriksson put out a strong side with the intention of winning the group. Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen started in attack. The problem with that idea, however, was that inside the first minute Owen, trying to pass the ball, had his knee buckle from underneath him, which not only saw the end of his match but his whole World Cup.

The injury, naturally, hampered the flow at the start of the game, but when it did get going England showed attacking intent. Joe Cole, in particular, seemed keen to shoot and he fired over before Rooney's drive into the box and shot was kept out by a last-minute block from Teddy Lucic. Then came the opening goal, and it was right out of the top drawer of World Cup strikes.

Cole, who had already threatened, innocuously chested down a clearance some 35 yards out and by the time Andreas Isaksson in the Sweden goal had realised that a shot was coming it had dipped over him only for him to palm it into the net. It was a moment of genius from a player at the time on top of his game, and England were flying. Rooney and Frank Lampard went close before the break, but England held their slight advantage to half time.

English midfielder Joe Cole celebrates after scoring during the opening round Group B World Cup football match Sweden vs. England, 20 June 2006© Getty Images

England's frailties under Eriksson did not take long to resurface, however. Marcus Allback was allowed too much space from a corner six minutes into the second half and guided in a header from Tobias Linderoth's delivery. The leveller almost became the lead from another corner shortly after, but this time Allback's effort was very well saved by Paul Robinson in the England goal.

The Three Lions were well in control in the first half, but after the break they could hardly string two passes together. Yet again from a corner England could have gone behind as Lucic's header fell kindly for Olof Mellberg, who struck the crossbar with a volley. Somehow with five minutes to play Steven Gerrard scored with a superb header from a Cole cross to restore England's lead and surely make it maximum group points.

It was not to be, as they buckled under the late pressure of the kitchen sink. A long ball caused havoc in the England ranks and Henrik Larsson, quiet for much of the game, stabbed in right at the death for a share of the points. England still topped the group and their reward was a very winnable clash against Ecuador in the last 16.

English forward Dany Welbeck celebrates with Andy Carroll after scoring a goal during the Euro 2012 championships football match Sweden vs England on June 15, 2012
Read Next:
OTD: England beat Sweden in thriller
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool24138354292547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs24136547222545
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
10Watford2475123344-1126
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
12Bournemouth2467112536-1125
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton24410102435-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2455141535-2020
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in with Facebook to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
LIVE SCORES VIDEPRINTER
expand