Three Lions roar back to beat Sweden

England might have been nervous that historically Sweden has done well against them. In tournament play, the Scandinavians had not lost in seven meetings. England's Roy Hodgson studied the Swedish defense and decided that one of their problems was defending against aerial attacks. As a result, Andy Carroll was included in the line-up to take advantage of this weakness.


The decision paid off, as the Liverpool striker was responsible for the only goal of the first half. In the 23rd minute, he headed a goal that both silenced his critics and put the English side in a good position at the break.

Unfortunately, it was not to last. Early in the second half, former Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg scored two quick goals, and made many English fans nervous that their hopes of getting out of the group round were to be futile. Both Swedish goals came from set pieces and exposed one weakness of the English side's defense.

Arsenal's Theo Walcott was substituted an hour in for an underperforming James Milner, and he quickly made a significant difference. First he scored a beautiful bending shot in the 64th minute, and then he set up Danny Welbeck's winner in the 78th minute.

The latter's goal was one of those goal's that will be included in the highlight reel of this tournament. Walcott's pass from the byline met Welbeck who deftly flicked it on with a backheel as he was spinning round.

The English fans must have felt like they had been on an amusement ride emotionally. First they were up at the half, and their team had looked dominant and in control, and then they were forced to climb out of a hole because of those two Swedish goals at the beginning of the second half. That their team equalised was one thing, but the relief when they actually won was evident on the faces of the English fans in the stadium in Kyiv.

Now, they only have to draw with the hosts Ukraine in order to move on to the second round. In the opening minutes of the second half, this position seemed like an unrealistic dream.


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