England vs. Sweden was the most exciting match of Euro 2012 thus far.  The match offered fans everything they could handle; redemption, two comebacks, and finally an unlikely hero. Despite playing in two of the most entertaining and dramatic matches of Euro 2012, Sweden becomes the second team to be eliminated from the competition. Their second half comeback was not enough to stave off defeat at the hands of the Three Lions.

Full Match Highlights Here


The first half was a rather boring affair, the lone bright spot coming off of a cross from England captain Steven Gerrard.  The in-swinging cross was met by the head of Gerrard's Liverpool teammate Andy Carroll.  Carroll has come under fire since his high price transfer from Newcastle, but he redeemed himself to the home nation by powering a header past Andreas Isaksson for the game's opening goal.  John Terry had several timely interventions on Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic to prevent scoring opportunities for Sweden.  England overall looked very complacent and conservative, content to hold onto their 1-0 lead.

Just a few short minutes after the halftime break, a free kick was conceded by Andy Carroll in a dangerous area.  Zlatan Ibrahimovic's free kick was a poor effort, striking the English wall, but his second effort fell to Olof Mellberg.  Mellberg pounced on the loose ball and fired a shot towards the goal that bounced off the hands of Joe Hart and knocked into the goal by a sprawling Glen Johnson.  Sweden had earned their equalizer, not the most beautiful goal, but it would serve their needs for the time being.  The goal was originally awarded to Mellberg, but later corrected to


England was looking increasingly desperate, and if it were not for a perfectly timed sliding tack from Glen Johnson they could have conceded just a few minutes later.  Sweden were overwhelming the English midfield and a free kick was given to Sweden after a clumsy tackle from a tired looking James Milner earned a yellow card.  The ensuing free kick from 40 yards was struck by Sebastian Larsson and met by a soaring header from the unmarked Olaf Mellberg. Mellberg's header sailed past the helpless Joe Hart and suddenly England were standing on the verge of defeat.


Roy Hodson's influence on the match began with Theo Walcott's introduction, it was the turning point of the match for England, entering for the yellow carded James Milner.  Walcott immediately changed the game following his introduction, earning the equalizer on a shot from outside of the penalty area that soared over the mass of humanity in front of him and into the goal past the un-sighted Isaksson.  The goal was Walcott's first goal for England since scoring a hat-trick in 2008 against Croatia.  His return to international scoring could not have come at a more valuable time for England.

Sweden did not back down following the equalizer, their responding attacks leading to chances for Kim Kallstrom and Ibrahimovic. Kallstrom's effort sailed over the bar and Zlatan's effort was turned away by Joe Hart, but the English defense looked porous and vulnerable to attack, especially down the left flank.


Theo Walcott's influence since his introduction continued and he contributed the cross that led to Danny Welbeck's wonderful backheel winning goal.  The goal came when Walcott dribbled towards the touch line before sending in a cross that Welbeck finished the only way he possibly could have with a turning backheel effort that bounced into the far corner of the goal.  It was an incredible moment of brilliance from the young England stars and it sent their fans into a frenzy.


Walcott was not done yet and he led an English trio on another break into Swedish territory.  His break down the right side ended with a cross to the center intended for either Gerrard or the newly introduced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.  Gerrard took the initiative with a leaping strike that was sent straight into the chest of Andreas Isaksson and bounced clear. England looked extremely dangerous since the introduction of Walcott and his efforts single-handedly turned the game around.

The final whistle sounded signaling the elimination of Sweden, Heavily criticized for negative tactics and squad selection, redemption came sweetly for the Three Lions. They now need only a draw against Ukraine to secure their place in the quarterfinals.