Carroll launches England to victory

England took a significant step towards the Euro 2012 quarter-finals with a thrilling 3-2 win over Sweden in Kiev. A performance that was almost comical in its lurch from brilliance to disaster and back again confounded those who had accused Roy Hodgson’s side of being boring.

England scored three goals of the highest quality and conceded two of farcical ineptitude. Hodgson had thought that his defence was reliable, and asked for more attacking flair. The forwards responded magnificently, the defence will have to ask themselves some tough questions.

Andy Carroll opened the scoring with a magnificent header. Early in the second half, England went behind to two untidy goals from the veteran Swedish centre-half Olaf Mellberg. Substitute Theo Walcott turned the match back in England’s favour, equalising with a swirling shot, before setting up Danny Welbeck for an exquisite flicked finish worthy of Lionel Messi.

Hodgson understandably heaped praise on his forwards. "I was really pleased with the performance of the front players, and Theo Walcott's contribution was enormous," he said. "To come on as a substitute, score and then set up the winner means he'll be very happy."

He highlighted Welbeck’s skill and intelligence that brought the winner. "It was a clever finish with the pirouette past the goalkeeper who thought he was going to toe it towards the near post. It was a great goal to win the game.

"This was a cracking game and we had good control before Sweden rocked us back on our heels. The way our team responded was excellent. Our attacking play showed good intentions and we looked dangerous."

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