Welbeck scores dramatic winner to eliminate Sweden

Sweden 2 England 3

Danny Welbeck scored a dramatic winner as England roared back to win a thrilling Euro 2012 clash with Sweden in Kiev.

Roy Hodgson's men only require a draw in their final outing with co-hosts Ukraine on Tuesday to claim a last-eight berth.

When the dust finally settles, Hodgson will take huge satisfaction from the knowledge both his bold selection moves, picking Andy Carroll and introducing Theo Walcott, paid off handsomely.

Less palatable will be replays of the atrocious defending that forced England to launch their memorable fightback after a half-time lead turned into a deficit as Olof Mellberg twice took advantage of opponents' slackness to put Sweden in front.

There was no sign of the drama to come during a drab first half.

Scott Parker brought a decent save out of Andreas Isaksson after Welbeck rolled an inviting lay-off into his path.

Welbeck guided a header wide from James Milner's cross too.

Sweden had a few half-chances and Sebastian Larsson brought a decent save out of Joe Hart.

However, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic enduring one of those evenings when English fans wonder what the fuss is all about, Sweden seemed to be there for the taking.

The opportunity England craved was a while in coming and, as so often, Steven Gerrard provided it.

From virtually the identical position he created Joleon Lescott's goal in Donetsk on Monday, the skipper launched another inviting cross to the far post.

Carroll got between defenders and rose majestically to power his header into the bottom corner.

Much as he may bristle at what is perceived to be the criticism of straight-forward tactics, if England are good at it, Hodgson should make no apology for playing to such strengths.

It is not as though England are incapable of incisive passing when it suits.

Cole threaded an excellent ball through Sweden's defence for Young to run on to.

A poor first touch cost the Manchester United man valuable momentum, though, and he ended up snatching at his shot, which Isaksson saved by the near post.

How galling so much good work was undone within four minutes of the restart.

If there is blame to be apportioned, it should be to Carroll for his crude chop at Kallstrom's legs 30 yards from the England goal.

After that, it was all down to luck.

In lifting the ball back into the box after his initial free-kick had been blocked, Ibrahimovic could not have expected to pick out Mellberg, completely unmarked, eight yards out.

Hart made a terrific one-handed save, only for the ball to bounce straight into Johnson, whose desperate attempt to keep it out of the net met with failure.

Worse was to come.

Having proved how adept they at scoring from deep crosses, England showed a shuddering ineptitude at defending them as Larsson drove a touchline free-kick deep into the box.

Despite so many bodies around him, Mellberg was completely on his own and gave Hart no chance from point blank range.

Hodgson took immediate action, replacing Milner with Walcott. Once again his decision was a master-stroke.

Three minutes later, Walcott, hanging back at a Gerrard corner, collected the loose ball from a Sweden clearance, and with defenders and attackers merging in a frenzy of movement to retake their positions, fired through the lot.

Isaksson, unsighted, was totally deceived and could only watch helplessly as the shot flew past him, only a few inches away but completely out of reach.

It was Walcott's first goal since that hat-trick in Croatia almost four years ago - and probably his best international performance too.

The goal blitz had squeezed the contest completely out of shape.

Even though both sides could still advance with a last-game triumph as things stood, neither were prepared to settle for it.

Hart shovelled Ibrahimovic's shot wide before England countered and got their winner.

Walcott can be infuriating at times. Not this evening though.

And when the Arsenal man drove toward the by-line, he pulled a cross back to the near post, where Welbeck, instinctively, back-heeled it in.

The result leaves Hodgson wondering how to restore star man Wayne Rooney to his starting line-up given Carroll and Welbeck were so impressive.

That is a problem for another day.

Gerrard was foiled by Isaksson in stoppage time to deny England a more handsome final scoreline.

But in the best tournament for decades, England have joined the party.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform