Sweden 2 England 3: It was a cracking game – Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson was heartened by the attitude of his England players after they fought back from a goal down to beat Sweden
Roy Hodgson was thrilled with the way his England side responded to falling behind to Sweden after Danny Welbeck grabbed a dramatic winner to hand the Three Lions their first victory of Euro 2012.
Hodgson’s men looked to be in control when Andy Carroll headed Steven Gerrard’s cross home to edge England into the lead in the 23rd minute.
But, in a disastrous 10-minute spell after the break, Sweden defender Olof Mellberg squeezed home his finish and then headed in a second from a Sebastian Larsson free-kick to give his country the lead.
England appeared to be in disarray but substitute Theo Walcott fired home an equaliser from the edge of the box in the 64th minute, before the Arsenal winger’s smart run and cross teed up Welbeck, who flicked the winner past Andreas Isaksson in the Sweden goal with 12 minutes to play.
“It was a cracking game of football,” said Hodgson. “We were reasonably comfortable at half-time and had a good control of the game before they rocked us on our heels.
“We knew how dangerous they were from set-pieces and they proved true to that. But it was very good the way the team responded to that.
“I must emphasise we’ve got a good victory against a team with a lot of experience and experience in tournament football.
“I’m delighted for the younger guys but pleased with the older guard against Swedish team that asked a lot of questions.They dealt with most of the questions asked of them.”
Hodgson also confirmed that Wayne Rooney would return to the starting line-up against Ukraine after missing England’s opening two group games through suspension.
“Wayne’s been excellent in training and looking really sharp,” he said. “We need quality for the next game against Ukraine where we’ve got to get a result and a player like Rooney can make a major difference.
“If I did make the decision to leave him out all hell would break loose in the dressing room.”
Friday’s victory, England’s first over Sweden in a competitive fixture, means the Three Lions need only a point from their final Group D game against Ukraine to book a spot in the quarter-finals. Sweden, meanwhile, are eliminated after suffering defeats in their opening two matches.