Expert analysis of the events in Poland and Ukraine
Back of the Net
The Back of the Net boys report on Sweden 2-3 England
England vanquished ancient foes Sweden in Kiev with a commanding performance that left the result in no doubt whatsoever at any stage.
The Three Lions had never beaten Sweden in a competitive fixture, coming closest to victory in the Anglo-Swedish War of 1810-1812, which ended in the first of many draws that would become characteristic of the fixture.
Motivated by the unfinished business left by the Treaty of Örebro, England tore into their bitter rivals with wave after wave of scintillating attacks and passing so slick the ball often appeared a blur.
Using his intimate knowledge of the Swedish game, Roy Hodgson called up greasy-haired nuisance man Andy Carroll to try and take advantage of the fact no Swedish player had ever headed a football.
The strategy proved highly effective as Carroll headed home on 23 minutes while the Swedish defence cowered and cooed believing that the Liverpool man’s head was likely to fall off.
England were completely in control and almost embarrassingly so, stroking the ball around with the elegance of the Brazil team of 1970. The Swedish players looked dispirited and out of their depth while many neutrals in the stands wept with sheer joy, awe-struck by the quality of football they were watching.
The spectacle was such that fans began to openly jeer Johann Cruyff, who was covering the game for Dutch TV while the presenter on Brazil’s GloboSport was intentionally sick on Pelé’s shoes as a sign of contempt.
Olof Mellberg scored twice after half-time to make it 2-1 to Sweden.
England were toying with their weaker foes like a lion toying with a lame chinchilla. And the inevitable happened when substitute Theo Walcott blasted England level with a strike that no goalkeeper in the world could have saved.
br>Downcast Sweden fans accept their fate before the game
Sweden knew the game was up and Danny Welbeck dealt the death blow with a sneer. Not deeming the Swedes worthy of seeing his face, the Manchester United man converted a Walcott cross with a contemptuous back-heel.
On the final whistle there was very little emotion displayed by the England players or supporters as the unstoppable juggernaut rolled on with a sense of inevitability. England’s final Group D game is against Ukraine who would be ill advised to expect anything but a 3-2 thrashing of their own.
More match reports from Back of the Net:UKR 0-2 FRA: Ukraine, 400-year-old God of Thunder unable to stop FranceESP 4-0 IRE: Trapattoni pinpoints kick-off as turning point for IrelandITA 1-1 CRO: Croatia refuse to give in, grab socially awkward point with ItalyPOR 3-2 DEN: Postiga karaoke triumph enrages bitter RonaldoGER 2-1 NED: Dutch defence, midfield, attack, kit, language the problem
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The Back of the Net boys report on Sweden 2-0 France Sweden recorded a majestic 2-0 win over France and
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