Euro 2012: Welbeck flick gives England 3-2 win over Sweden (Lead)

June 16th, 2012 - 4:41 am ICT by IANS  

Arsenal Kiev, June 16 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Danny Welbeck’s back-flick secured England a dramatic 3-2 win over Sweden in Euro 2012 Group B in Kiev Friday.

The Manchester United striker angled Theo Walcott’s pullback into the corner to hand England three points that take them second in the group behind France, who beat Ukraine 2-0 earlier.

The England win puts a spirited Sweden team out of the tournament after their opening 2-1 defeat to Ukraine.

The English need a point against Ukraine Tuesday to make the quarterfinals.

Andy Carroll put England ahead after 23 minutes, heading a cross in from Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard to score on his first competitive appearance for his country.

It justified Roy Hodgson’s decision to deploy the 6-feet-3-inches frontman against a Sweden side that shipped two headed goals to Ukraine’s Andriy Shevchenko in the co-hosts’ 2-1 win.

The equaliser came on 49 minutes as Glen Johnson deflected a shot by Olof Mellberg into his own net.

Mellberg did get a goal, however, 10 minutes later, heading in a Sebastian Larsson cross at the back post as the English defence dissipated.

But England regrouped and levelled it through Theo Walcott, who found the net from range four minutes after replacing James Milner on the right.

The Arsenal winger laid on Welbeck’s winner on 78 minutes.

France play Sweden in Tuesday’s other game.

Despite England’s first-half strike, they gradually lost their grip on the game as it wore on. The rot was stopped by Hodgson’s substitution of James Milner for Walcott, which gave the English another dimension in attack.

Scott Parker sent a stinging drive toward the top corner on seven minutes, but Andreas Isaksson parried away.

Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson struck straight at Joe Hart’s midriff at the other end.

On 15 minutes, Welbeck beat Mellberg to a near-post header but failed to get enough on it and it drifted wide.

Hart kept out a 19th-minute effort by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, shooting from the same position as France’s Samir Nasri when the Manchester City man scored in the opening 1-1 draw in Donetsk.

John Terry got a last-ditch touch on a cross from the left as England were left exposed down the left.

England then went ahead, as Carroll timed his run between Sweden’s central pairing of Jonas Olsson and Mellberg to perfection and rose to meet Gerrard’s whipped-in cross from deep.

Ibrahimovic charged down on goal after the opener, unleashing a drive that took a deflection off Terry and into Hart’s hards.

Ashley Young was played in by Cole down the left but the Manchester United winger dragged tamely wide.

Sweden’s Kim Kallstrom collected a through ball from Ibrahimovic down the left soon after but his left-footer soared over.

Sweden levelled it four minutes after the break, with an Ibrahimovic free kick eventually falling to Mellberg in the box.

The 34-year-old Olympiakos center-half, playing in his fourth European championships, struck a shot that Hart took the sting out of before Johnson inadvertently directed it in.

The game then turned high-octane, with Sweden taking the lead though Mellberg.

The former Aston Villa defender was one of three Swedish players who could have converted Larsson’s ball in from the left.

England regrouped, with Terry leading his team on an attack and getting on the end of a Johnson cross to head straight at Isaksson.

They restored parity from the resulting corner, which broke to Walcott, whose effort from the edge of the box rebounded off Larsson and into the net.

Carroll blazed a 20-yard drive just over on 70 minutes.

Sweden pressed, putting together a stunning move soon after as Martin Olsson ghosted past Johnson down the left and squared to Kallstrom, who met it sidefooted but directed it just over.

Hart then parried away a swerving shot from Ibrahimovic.

But it was, suddenly, England who went in front.

Walcott darted between two fullbacks, pulling it behind Welbeck, who needed a pirouette to back-flick the ball into the corner of the goal.

England slowed the pace, seeing off late danger and missing an additional chance through Steven Gerrard to secure a dramatic comeback win.


Sweden: Andreas Isaksson, Olof Mellberg, Andreas Granqvist (Mikael Lustig, 60), Martin Olsson, Rasmus Elm (Christian Wilhelmsson, Sebastian Larsson, Anders Svensson, Kim Kallstrim, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Johan Elmander (Markus Rosenberg, 79), Jonas Olsson.

England: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, John Terry, Andy Carroll, Ashley Young, Joleon Lescott, James Milner (Theo Walcott, 60), Scott Parker, Danny Welbeck (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 90).

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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