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Friday 15 June 2012

Walcott inspires England win over Sweden

Arsenal winger comes off the bench to help earn England a dramatic win over Sweden

  • Liverpool forward Andy Carroll rose majestically to head England into the lead

  • Ex-Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg got both of Sweden's goals

  • The match in Donetsk was disrupted for nearly an hour by heavy rain and lightning

Sweden 2-3 England

Theo Walcott came off the bench to inspire England to a narrow win over Sweden at Euro 2012.

England's hopes of progressing from Group D looked in real danger as they trailed with less than half an hour to go in Kiev.

But substitute Walcott made an almost immediate impact off the bench to equalise when his shot from just outside the area caught out Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.

He then created the winner when he ran at the Swedish defence before squaring for Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck to backheel in.

"It means so much and hopefully there will be more to come from me"
- Theo Walcott

England had earlier opened the scoring through striker Andy Carroll, who was brought into the starting line-up by manager Roy Hodgson.

Steven Gerrard was the creator of the goal, whipping in a deep cross that his Liverpool team-mate Andy Carroll met with a pinpoint header into the bottom corner.

But Sweden fought back in the second half and Mellberg latched on to a loose ball after a Zlatan Ibrahimovic effort to equalise, despite the efforts of Joe Hart and Glen Johnson.

Mellberg added a second when he headed home completely unmarked at the back post from a free-kick by Sunderland midfielder Larsson.

But Walcott and Welbeck ensured England go into their final group match against Ukraine knowing a draw will take them through to the knockout stages, while Sweden go out of the tournament.

Ukraine 0-2 France

Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye helped France to overcome co-hosts Ukraine as well as some atrocious weather conditions to record a crucial win at Euro 2012.

The Group D match was suspended after less than five minutes because of heavy rain and lightning in Donetsk and the players stayed off the pitch for nearly an hour.

France took a while to get going but went into the lead with a sweeping second-half move that involved Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema before Jeremy Menez beat Andriy Pyatov at his near post with a powerful strike.

Benzema was involved in the second, setting up Cabaye and the Magpies midfielder took a touch before firing a left-foot strike into the corner from inside the area.

Cabaye almost grabbed a second but his right-foot half-volley came back off the post.

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Key Points

  • Theo Walcott, Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck get England goals in 3-2 win
  • The Ukraine-France match was suspended for an hour as players were taken off the pitch because of storm
  • France got two goals in three minutes to edge out the co-hosts