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Theo Walcott

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Sweden 2-3 England, Group D
Friday, June 15


Theo Walcott stepped off the bench to score one goal and create another as England beat Sweden 3-2 in a dramatic Group D clash on Friday night.

The Arsenal forward came on in the 60th minute and had an immediate impact as he crashed home a superb equaliser from the edge of the area to make it 2-2.

Then, with 78 minutes on the clock, he cut the ball back for Danny Welbeck to put Roy Hodgson's men in front and on their way to a priceless victory.

England made a solid start to the match in Kyiv, and were comfortably the better team in the opening stages without ever truly threatening.

With 17 minutes gone, they carved out their first chance of any note when James Milner sent in an inviting cross from the right but Welbeck's glancing header drifted wide.

But the tactic was to work to much better effect six minutes later when Steven Gerrard delivered a superb ball in from the right flank and Andy Carroll rose highest to power a header past Andreas Isaksson.

England remained in control for the rest of the first half, but surrendered their advantage straight after the interval as Olof Mellberg took advantage of some slack defending to bundle home an equaliser.

Things went from bad to worse for Hodgson's men in the 59th minute when the former Aston Villa centre back rose unmarked in the area to put Sweden ahead with a firm header.

England were in real trouble, but came agonisingly close to restoring parity when John Terry met Glen Johnson's cross, but his close-range header was brilliantly parried away by Isaksson.

Hodgson sent on Walcott just after the hour mark and moments later the 23-year-old snatched a dramatic leveller. The goal came after a corner was deflected out to the edge of the area, allowing the Arsenal forward to race on to the ball and fire in an unstoppable drive.

With the game stretched, both sides look dangerous on the break and Kim Kallstrom fired over for Sweden in the 75th minute, while Joe Hart had to produce a smart save seconds later to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But it was England who found the net next as Walcott slalomed into the area and cut the ball back for Welbeck who finished adroitly with an acrobatic touch.

It was to prove just about enough for England, who sent on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a late cameo in the 89th minute as they claimed a tight, tense victory.

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15 Jun 2012