Sweden 2 England 3 on 15th June 2012
Carroll 23, Johnson og 49, Mellberg 59 Walcott 64, Welbeck 78
The headline on that report was: Sub Walcott can score but Joe Hart must punch
At the end of an extraordinary shambles in Kiev last night, England emerged with three goals and three points.
We were 1-0 up and then 2-1 down.
As soon as we went behind, the pro-active Roy Hodgson brought on sub Theo Walcott, who turned the game upside down with a goal and an assist.
Walcott is a fast, brave striker who can score.
Impact sub? Yes, he’s exactly that type of player.
He got 30+ minutes in Kiev and did the business.
Sweden had started cleverly, pressing England in their own half to expose our lack of keep-ball craft, our inability to to run towards the ball and supply options.
We stuttered, looked utterly pedestrian, then scored.
When left back Martin Olsson cleared the ball down the line, Stevie G swiftly picked it up and fired a killer diagonal ball into the box. A big, bold jump by Andy Carroll, a colossally powerful downward header for 1-0.
Power football sometimes works at international level.
After 49, Carroll fell over outside England’s penalty area and thought he’d been fouled
But what was he doing back there?
Somebody tell me, what was Andy Carroll doing back there?
In the same phase of play, Carroll brought Kallstrom down 30 yards out and centrally, missing the tidy Swede with his leading boot and then clattering him with his trailing leg .
Ibrahimovic blasted the free-kick from 30 yards, the ball hit a defender and broke to veteran centreback Olof Mellberg, who was being played onside by incorrigible ball-watcher Glen Johnson. Mellberg’s shot went in off Johnson for 1-1.
Then Milner’s tired foul on Kallstrom gave Seb Larsson a free-kick and his pinpoint delivery found the unmarked Mellberg, who had spun into an unprotected space created by well-rehearsed blocking off. The former Villa centreback headed in from five yards. A goal straight off the training pitch but a very soft one for England to concede.
Joe Hart has to come for that ball.
He has to come and punch it! He’s a champion of the Premier League and he’s now wearing the Three Lions and he’s six foot five and he must take charge of his six-yard box on a ball like that. If he doesn’t, how can he call himself a goalkeeper?
When Ashley Young’s corner was headed out by Jonas Olsson to Walcott, his shot from the edge of the box looped over PSV keeper Andreas Isaksson, who was wrong-footed. At first it looked like a deflection but replays were inconclusive.
That made it 2-2.
Then Glen Johnson strode forward, Walcott wanted the ball and got it and zoomed beyond two yellow shirts and cut the ball back just behind Danny Welbeck, who improvised a neat backheel for 3-2.
Welbeck is a poacher as well as an athlete and he’s good on awkward balls like that.
We scored three goals in open play but conceded two from set-pieces.
We need to improve quickly.
But Roy Hodgson has worked wonders in a few weeks.
And four points out of six is OK.
A draw against Ukraine would put England into the quarter-final if we were disciplined enough to play for a draw.
Over to you, Wayne.