England 1-0 Sweden – as it happened
A comfortable win for an enthusiastic young side. Watch out world
Full time: England 1-0 Sweden Spain won the World Cup with four straight 1-0s, and England have got their number, oh yes. That’s two 1-0 wins in three days for George Graham’s side, and three in four games, not to mention a first win over Sweden since 1968. In fairness, that was a pretty decent night for an inexperienced England side, who played well in patches, showed the enthusiasm of men who don’t think international football is a divine right, and should have won by more. They are not going to win Euro 2012, but maybe – just maybe – this lot won’t embarrass themselves like the golden generation often did at major tournaments. Cheers for your emails; night.
92 min A big chance for Wilhelmsson in the second minute of injury time. All the defenders had been dragged over to the right, and Bajrami clipped an excellent pass to Wilhelmsson on the left of the box. He had plenty of time to take the ball down, but sidefooted a first-time volley miles over the bar.
90 min There will be two more minutes of this stuff.
88 min The corner is poor and cleared by Milner. The last 20 minutes have put the ‘dire’ in ‘diabolical’.
87 min We’d gone 64 seconds without a substitution, which is far too long, so Bajrami replaces Elm for Sweden. Moments later, Larsson’s 35-yard free kick hits the wall and goes for a corner.
85 min “Beat Spain with a goal from one inch, do for Sweden with an own goal,” smiles patriotism’s Jacob Steinberg. “This might as well be Stoke.” I’ll put your phone number on the internet if you keep up that anti-England chat.
83 min The best players for England tonight have probably been Downing, Walker, Rodwell and Zlatan.
82 min An excellent cross from Milner on the right – again stood up rather than whipped – is brilliantly headed behind for a corner by Larsson, who was a yard from his own goal and Darren Bent climbing all over him.
81 min This game is petering out like a marriage.
78 min Larsson’s overhit cross from deep on the right is pawed away desperately by the backpedalling Carson. That was very similar to Hart’s save in the first half.
76 min Downing thwangs over from 20 yards. He’s been England’s best player in the second half. He’s now playing from the right, with Sturridge on the left. A vaguely competent human being would have informed you of that tactical switch ten minutes ago, when it happened.
74 min “If I was going to go to the trouble of lying, I’d have been a damn sight more flamboyant about it,” says Liz Rippin. “This is the stuff dreams are made of. I’ve seen the fear in the eyes of the runners when it occurs to them they might end up doing my job.” You’re Frankie Cocozza’s fluffer?
71 min Another. Mother. Effing. Substitution. Anders Svensson, once of Southampton, replaces Kim Kallstrom.
70 min Here comes Darren Bent, to replace Bobby Zamora. He can be fairly pleased with his performance, I think. He was palpably nervous early on but did some good things as the game progressed.
68 min“Self awareness stage two: Germany have just scored a ludicrous goal,” says Ethan Dean-Richards. “English football should know this.” Yeah but how many times have they beaten Spain with Darren Bent up front? Case closed Columbo.
67 min “Own Goal is now England’s fourth highest goalscorer with 43,” says Jacob Steinberg. Own goals > Owen goals.
66 min Downing intercepts a shoddy pass from Toivonen on the halfway line, runs to within 20 yards of goal and then drives a crisp low shot that is a bit too close to Isaksson.
64 min An excellent attack from England. Baines clips a pass over the top for Downing, who cuts a precise, first-time ball back towards Zamora. He was running onto the ball, 12 yards out, and swept a good shot towards goal that was deflected wide. After a quiet start, Baines and Downing have been excellent. After a nervous start, Zamora has come into the game too; he’s worth another look because his game is more rounded than that of Bent, Defoe and a few other contenders.
61 min So assuming nobody gets, say, a four-year ban for racism, and everyone is fit, what would be your England team for the first Euro 2012 game? I quite fancy something along the lines of Hart; Richards, Jones, Terry, Cole; Cleverley, Parker, Wilshere; Sturridge, Bent, Young.
60 min “It’s been an interesting read,” lies Liz Rippin, “but I don’t care enough about this game to stay beyond the needs of work. Enjoy typing the substitutions out though!” When I wrote to Jim and asked him if he’d fix it for me to be a journalist, this is the dream I was intent on living.
59 min Two more England substitutions: James Milner and the debutant Daniel Sturridge replace Theo Walcott and Jack Rodwell. Rodwell caught the eye, for richer and poorer. Sturridge has a lot of class and could be a big player for England, even as early as next summer.
58 min A decent spell for Sweden, who win a corner on the left. It’s a poor one from Larsson, and cleared by a combination of Walker and Larsson. I didn’t really need to type this entry at all, but I wanted to give two fingers to the tyranny of friendly substitutions.
56 min Another Sweden change: Christian Wilhelmsson for Mikael Lustig. for the humble MBMer, there’s something soul-crushing about
life the second half of a friendly, because all you seem to do is type details of substitutions.
55 min “England look a lot better without the speculative 40-yard punts we’ve come to know and expect from Messrs Gerrard and Lampard,” says Alexander Wilson. “Is it too much to hope that England have FINALLY worked that the secret to international football is keeping possession of the ruddy ball?” Hope is the enemy of self-awareness.
52 min Nothing is happening. Fortysomething married couples make love with more intensity than the second half has had thus far.
51 min “I see that Daniel Majstorovic has continued in a similar vein of form to his performances for my beloved Celtic,” says John Reid. “Utter shite.” Or utter Scheidt.
50 min “A moment of silence for the end of the great cinderella story of the 2012 Euro qualification,” says George Templeton. “The Czech Republic has scored and lead 1-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate. Don’t know about you, but the Montenegrans were a highlight of the qualification for me. Hope they can get to a major tournament soon.”
48 min A nice pass from Jones finds Downing, who again decides to stand up his cross. Zamora, beyond the far post, gets above Martin Olsson and heads it down to Rodwell, whose volley is deflected for a corner.
46 min England kick off the second half. Does anyone know if the Portugal-Bosnia game is on British TV at 9?
Half-time substitutions Scott Carson for Joe Hart, Jonas Olsson for Olof Mellberg, Ola Toivonen for Comedy Zlatan.
Roy Keane on Jack Rodwell’s missed chance “He won’t be sleeping tonight, no chance.” Keane and especially Gary Neville have made football punditry in this country so much more interesting. Of that team, I reckon Scholes would be an excellent pundit too, if he could be bothered with all that. Ole Solskjaer is the other, but I suspect he’ll be in management for the next 30 years.
Half time: England 1-0 Sweden A low key and sometimes boring half, but there were moments of geniune promise from England. I’m off to pour a nice glass of wine; see you in 10 minutes. In the meantime, you can see highlights of the game (and Germany tearing Holland a new one) by clicking here.
43 min Jack Rodwell misses a glorious chance. Downing roasted Lustig down the left and then chipped over an excellent cross that took the keeper Isaksson out of the game. Rodwell leapt above two defenders, barely six yards from goal, but headed the ball off the outside of the far post. File under ‘it seemed easier to score’.
42 min Wernbloom’s smart looping header hits the post, although he had rightly been flagged offside.
40 min Phil Jones almost scores a lovely goal. He picked up a loose ball in the centre circle and surged thrillingly through a biggish gap, all the way into the area to face the keeper Isaksson. He was cool enough to try to steer it into the far corner with the outside of the right foot, but it drifted just wide of the post. Jones probably should have scored, but it was a nice reminder of his terrifying potential.
37 min The big beefy boy almost scores. Baines beats Lustig and stands up a good cross towards Rodwell, 15 yards from goal. He adjusts his body neatly to screw a left-footed volley towards goal, and it deflects just wide off Larsson.
36 min Peter Drury calls Jack Rodwell a “big beefy boy”. Please don’t ever do that again, Peter.
33 min Elm also scores with a wicked inswinging corner from the left. It was going in off the far post until Hart leapt backwards to flap it away for another corner. That’s a decent save in the end. From the resulting corner, Elmander flicks a header into the side-netting at the near post.
32 min England make a bit of a mess of a long throw from Lustig – it’s 2006 all over again – and eventually Ibrahimovic’s snap shot is blocked by Walker. Sweden are having their best spell.
31 min Seb Larsson has been Sweden’s best player – insert your own taller-than-Danny-Devito-joke here – and plays an excellent past with the outside of the foot down the left wing for Ibrahimovic. He tries to run Cahill, who defends well.
29 min “Andy Townsend demonstrating his stellar knowledge of the game again by proclaiming that Ibrahimovich went back in time to destroy Arsenal at Highbury,” says Sandeep Chatterjee. In fairness, I still think Angus Deayton presents HIGNFY, so I’m in no position to criticise.
27 min Ibrahimovic breaks into a sprint, to no avail. Sweden have offered very little.
25 min Fortunate goal or nae, England have been the better side and probably deserve to be ahead.
GOAL! England 1-0 Sweden (Majstorovic own goal 22) After all those attacks down the right, England score from an attack down the left. After a patient build up, Downing curled over a cross towards the near post, and Barry flicked a header across Isaksson and into the far corner. It took a slight touch off the centre back Majstorovic. I don’t know if that was decisive. But I do know that it’s England’s 2000th goal, because Peter Drury said so. Actually, on reflection, that was definitely going wide before it hit Majstorovic, so anyone with a brain will recognise it as an own goal. “It’s England’s 2000th, let’s give it to an Englishman,” warbles Drury.
20 min England launch a rare attack down the left, and Baines’s unusually poor cross is straight at Isaksson.
17 min A chance for England. Walcott plays a quick one-two with Zamora and then heads the ball back towards Zamora again, eight yards from goal. His first touch is poor and, when the ball comes back to him off a defender, he crunches it into the side-netting at the near post. He might have done better.
16 min This Sweden kit is disgusting. Whoever is responsible should have to go door to door apologising.
14 min “Moral superiority is what Arsenal has because they don’t win anything,” says George Templeton. “Barcelona actually wins things. Big difference!” True, but Arsenal’s culture of moral superiority began in the early 2000s, when they were winning plenty, and you could argue it became damaging. Not just in recent times, but as long ago as 2004 and their monumental sulk after the defeat at Old Trafford.
13 min Wernbloom is bundled over by Phil Jones, 22 yards from goal. It’s fractionally outside the D, perfectly central, and Seb Larsson’s heart is skipping a few beats. Mind you, Zlatan has rumbled over to have a sniff as well. In the end it’s Larsson, and he whips it straight into the wall.
12 min Emails please!
10 min England have done some decent work down the right through Walker, Walcott and Rodwell, who is playing on the right of the central-midfield three. But it’s all fairly low-key at the moment.
7 min “To celebrate your return to MBMs,” begins John Reid, “here is a delightful video of my, and I think your favourite actress – Sarah Shahi.” There’s nothing to add to that, really.
6 min England are reacquainting themselves with an old friend that they didn’t see a lot of on Saturday: the football. They have had most of the possession so far, and Rodwell in particular looks bright.
3 min A decent attack from England. Walcott skates down the right and then plays the ball back to the onrushing Walker, who stands up a good cross towards Downing at the far post. It’s headed clear by Lustig.
1 min Sweden kick off from right to left. They are wearing a disgraceful kit, very dark blue with a huge bright yellow diagonal stripe.
Zlatanwatch He has his hair slicked back absurdly tight and looks like a wacky minor character from Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. I think I love Zlatan. What a magnificent, preposterous man.
Happiness may be a cigar called Hamlet, and indeed a warm gun, but it’s also an email from Ethan Dean-Richards
Guess whose face screwed up in regal disgust as he spat this out on ITV “I think John Terry needs to concentrate on being a footballer. There’s been a lot of nonsense written about John, and he’s to blame.”
Other decent stuff on the site the day (aka please click on the links because the more hits we get the more bread ‘n’ spread we can buy and if we get some money out of this site we might even get ourselves some wives n lives)
Previously on England v Sweden
Eight changes for England. Joe Hart, Phil Jones and Theo Walcott are the survivors.
England (4-3-3) Hart; Walker, Cahill, Terry, Baines; Jones, Rodwell, Barry; Walcott, Zamora, Downing.
Subs: Carson, Glen Johnson, Cole, Lescott, Parker, Lampard, Milner, Adam Johnson, Sturridge, Bent, Stockdale.
Sweden (4-2-3-1) Isaksson; Lustig, Mellberg, Majstorovic, M Olsson; Wernbloom, Källström; Elm, Elmander, Larsson; Ibrahimovic.
Subs: Wiland, Bajrami, Svensson, Granqvist, Safari, Gerndt, Almeback, Holmen, J Olsson, Toivonen, Wilhelmsson.
Preamble Evening. Awareness, particularly of the self, is one of life’s most questionable gifts. On the one hand, it stops you making a goon of yourself and ensures you won’t have to suffer the consequences of, say, wearing jodhpurs to the working men’s club; on the other, given man’s innate limitations, it can engender a certain sadness. Nobody wants to know that they aren’t going to marry a Page 3 stunnah (or Page 7 stunnah) one day; that they’re never going to escape 9-5 drudgery (and that, even if they do, they’ll still be them); and that they’re never going to be the face of L’Oreal, Diesel or even Tesco Value Anti Perspirant Deodorant 200ml.
It’s the same for English football. The muted reaction to Saturday’s victory over Spain was admirable in its logic, humility and lack of
xenop triumphalism, yet the reaction was not just muted; it bordered on the sombre.
There are three main reasons for that: the cold, hard evidence before our eyes (and on the page – Spain had 70 per cent possession and 21 shots to England’s three); the fact that most fans and journalists wouldn’t give Fabio Capello credit if he found a cure for baldness; and, most important of all, the sense that, after so many false dawns during the golden (sic) generation, folk are too bruised to keep doing the old dance of hubris and nemesis. After all, there are only so many times you can splash on the aftershave, go to the club, stand on your own and then walk home alone, a lonely tear making a bid for freedom. Eventually you stop
even washing, never mind putting the aftershave on going to the club.
For now, this is the new reality of English football: a pragmatic in which people realise that England are a second or maybe third-tier side in limbo between generations, never mind managers. It makes for a slightly weird mood as we approach tonight’s match against Sweden, because in the old days this would have been a homecoming party for England, the 2012 European champions. Instead it’s just another match, and one for which they are struggling to shift tickets. Some reports suggest Wembley won’t be much more than half-full. It’s an unusual way to react to a win which, purely in terms of the result, was arguably more meritorious than the 4-1 v Holland and the 5-1 v Germany. England’s win over Spain was the first time they had beaten the world champions since 1980. Tonight they have, at least in anorakworld, an even stiffer challenge: to beat Sweden for the first time since 1968.