ENGLAND VS. SWEDEN EURO 2012 GROUP D MATCH REVIEW
To get all bragging over with, I called it. In my game preview, I made the prediction that Theo Walcott would make the difference in this game, and I was right. His inclusion in the game, subbing in for lackluster James Milner, provided the spark England needed to go on and win the game.
England: James Milner does not deserve all the criticism he receives. To be fair, he’s been played out of position every since his move from Aston Villa to Manchester City. He started his career as a winger, excelling with his former club, until injuries forced him to play in the center of midfield. In this central role, he truly thrived. When he’s not on the bench, he’s stuck on the wing with his current club, and that’s where England chooses to play him as well. In reality, his game is often offensively uninspired, which provided Walcott a chance to provide a spark. After Sweden went 2-1 up, Walcott didn’t take long to equalize. After an England corner, Theo took a shot from outside the box in a central position. This took the keeper by surprise, and the ball flew right over him, into the net. Shortly after, he weaseled his way through two defenders into the box, and provided the game winning cross. With Wayne Rooney’ suspension over, this England side can only get better.
Sweden: Besides six or so half chances from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and a few real ones, Sweden rarely threatened. However, they did do some damage off of set pieces. A failure to clear a certain free kick led to the ball falling to defender Olof Mellberg. His shot was palmed by keeper Joe Hart onto Glen Johnson, whose momentum carried him and the ball into the net. Not learning their lesson from the previous goal, England marked Sweden’s next free kick even worse, and set piece specialist Sebastian Larsson swung a cross for Mellberg to head home. That goal was certainly his own. Unfortunately for the Swedes, their lack of a cutting edge led to their downfall, and early exit from the competition.
England are not clear through yet, as they have a tricky final match against co hosts Ukraine. Things could definitely get interesting.