Good evening. Can we not knock it? Only one thing you need to know here and that's that this Swedish lot don't like it up 'em, so tonight England will be taking a leaf out of the Dennis Pennis book. Just as he advocated "windmilling in" and sticking keys in hand over that "Jackie Chan bollocks", so England have turned their nose up at 4-2-3-1 and tiki-taka, instead favouring Two Banks Of Four, men out wide to get the crosses in and a Giant Ponytail up front to nut the ball home. It's easy to scoff at this primitive nonsense, and the likes of Michael Ballack have been quick to do so since the stifling 1-1 draw with France, but there is a logic to Roy Hodgson's decision to opt for the Stokian big man up front this evening, England planning to introduce Andy Carroll alongside Danny Welbeck up front in order to terrorise the aerially suspect Sweden defence. Like any good manager, Mr Roy's been doing his homework and has duly noted that six of the last seven goals Sweden have conceded have been headers. Two of those came on Monday, when Sweden allowed the veteran Andriy Shevchenko to score twice with his head, and if we get to see the Andy Carroll that turned up in the FA Cup final and not the oaf that galumphed around like a horse on an exercise ball for the rest of the season, England could be in business.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for England is to break out of the constraints of two banks of four, because Sweden are there to be attacked. Such defensive tactics were understandable against France given the threat of their front three and the ease with which they monopolised the ball, but would be harder to justify against Sweden. England largely restricted France to optimistic long-range shots, which did admittedly catch them out for the equaliser, but mostly Joe Hart had very little to do. That's the power of TBOF. Yet this approach will only take England so far and they still need to pass better and be more precise with their decision-making in the final third. Hodgson's natural inclination is caution, but this is a glaring opportunity to throw the shackles off, especially in a tournament in which the most attacking sides have been handsomely rewarded for their adventure.
It would be remiss to write off Sweden just because they were beaten by Ukraine though. England's captain, Steven Gerrard, remarked that "Sweden are no France" but he should remember his history. The Swedes tend to be the most awkward of opponents and a 1-0 friendly win over them last November was their first over Sweden since 1968. 1968! 43 years of hurt. Before then, England had gone 11 games without beating Sweden, a run that took in draws in the group stages of the 2006 and 2002 World Cups, a defeat in qualifying for Euro 2000 and Thomas Brolin's brilliant winner to knock England out of Euro 92. While there have been better Sweden sides than this version, they remain England's bogey team. And they have a enigmatic ponytailed striker of their own to call upon: considering the scorn heaped upon Zlatan Ibrahimovic by English fans and pundits down the years, he could be up for this one. Which could spell trouble for England. Thank Roy for the Two Banks Of Four then.
Kick-off: 7.45pm, assuming the Donetsk apocalypse doesn't head to Kiev.
Due to the incredible scenes in Donetsk - you can follow Ukraine v France here - the England match has been put back 15 minutes. Kick-off is now at 8pm. All because of a bit of deadly lightning. You wouldn't have seen John Terry or Scott Parker leave the pitch in those conditions.
Email. "Lots of love for Roy in Sweden," says Jeremy Halpin. "Have been viewing a Swedish TV documentary on his time as a coach here. Not a bad word from anyone: Martin Dahlin (part of the '94 WC bronze medal team who trained under Roy in his early club career in Sweden); Lars Lagerbäck (former national coach) "His appointment is good for England but bad for Sweden." Credited with "modernizing the Swedish game 10 years ahead of other coaches." Impressive."
It seems all of his former Scandinavian players refer to him as Mr Hodgson (although not Mr Roy). That's proper respect for you, right there.
Team news: England are lining up with TBOF - what else? - but Mr Hodgson has thrown caution to the wind, bringing in Andy Carroll for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as predicted. They really fancy those headers! Unleash The Ponytail! The switch means Ashley Young moves away from his position behind Danny Welbeck to the left flank. Otherwise England are unchanged. Carroll's inclusion also signals The Battle Of The Ponytails, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic of course in attack for Sweden. He's joined by Johan Elmander, who spooned a great chance over the bar against Ukraine after a wonderful assist from Ibrahimovic. That's the problem for Sweden: he is operating on a different level to the rest of his team-mates.
England (BOF-BOF-2): Hart; Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole; Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Young; Carroll, Welbeck. Subs: Green, Butland, Kelly, Walcott, Henderson, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Downing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Defoe.
Sweden: Isaaksson; Grandqvist, Mellberg, Jonas Olsson, Martin Olsson; Larsson, Svensson, Kallstrom, Elm; Ibrahimovic Elmander. Subs: Wiland, Hansson, Lustig, Hysen, Antonsson, Wernbloom, Safari, Holmen, Bajrami, Toivonen, Wilhelmsson, Rosenberg.
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).
"UPDATE THE PAGE YOU GIT!" booms Pete Town, labouring under the misapprehension that he's my boss in an email sent a full 48 minutes before kick-off. Sorry Petey! I'll be handing in my notice shortly. Would you rather I ate a bit of food during the match?
The Man is back! "Fine, eat, have a pint, but how about you drop a line explaining what the delay is?" blasts Pete Town. Sorry Pete! Rest assured I'll be emailing you every day from now on to let you know when I get into work, what time I go to sleep after arriving at work, what time I go for lunch, what time I have my afternoon nap and what time I go to the toilet. Hopefully that will put you at ease.
A Swede emails in. "As a calm swede I predict 2 Ibra goals during the warm-up for u to miss while eating," says Jan Lofgren. "That's the only goals he will get tonight I'm afraid. Eat in peace now." I'm engaged in a Zlatan-battle with Football Weekly regular James Horncastle over the merits of Zlatan. He's a self-confessed Ibraholic, whereas I think he's a magnificent spoofer.
France are currently busy tearing Ukraine a new one. They're 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go. In the context of a very slick second-half performance, England's draw with France is looking like an even better result. If they win tonight, that is. "England are going to face a desperate, motivated, home team in their last match, aren't they?" says Marie Meyer. "I'm nervous already. Could somebody somehow manage to remind Sheva that his is 35.75 years old every hour of every day between now and then?" Shevchenko getting one over on John Terry? That wouldn't be ironic, would it?
URGENT MESSAGE FOR PETE TOWN: I am going to go and have a look out of
my cage the window. Won't be long!
The Zlatan debate continues apace. "I LOVE Zlatan as as abplayer Jacob but I honestly dont think he has the players around himself to get the brilliance shown," says Jan Lofgren. "We are not a very good team to be honest... Hope they prove me wrong but doubt it." Er, hello? Johan Elmander.
The danger for England is that the presence of Carroll will see them bypass midfield entirely and look for him with long balls from the back. Call it the Crouch Effect, if you will. They need to get their playmakers in midfield on the ball. Oh.
Another email. "I presume you have seen this already?" says Chrisn Thomson. "The Daily Star mock up is my favourite. They're making a rod for their back with that front page. I expect England to win 3-0 with an Andy Carroll hat trick. I'm Scottish and have been drinking lager since I got on the train to London at 3.30 this afternoon. Forza Sweden!!!!"
Where's your Super Soaraway Guardian Sport on that front page?
France have beaten Ukraine 2-0. They were very impressive and now top the group. No matter what happens in this match, it makes the final matches very tasty indeed. "At first glance the picture looks like Ibra and Carroll are holding hands, perhaps while running through a meadow," says Ben Monk.
BBC predictions: Alan Hansen says England are the better team. Alan Shearer compares them to Germany and Spain. Honk! Lee Dixon doesn't see them losing. "This is the moment," says the most level-headed pundit on the couch. "It's the Battle of The Ponytail," says Gary Lineker, who's clearly been reading this MBM. Hi Gary!
The players are in the tunnel. If you're watching this on BBC, you can "press red for commentary from Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave:. Cameron? England are in their dark blue away shirts, while Sweden are in their traditional yellow shirts and blue shorts.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ... Kick-off! And it's Sweden who do. They're attacking from left to right in the first half. It's a predictably harum-scarum staert, as the Swedes go hurtling straight through the centre of England's midfield. There appears to be around 30 players all congregated in a tiny five-yard space, so it's no surprise it ends with a free-kick to England. England hump it forward and Andy Carroll fouls Granqvist. Let him know you're there, Andy. "Swedish papers love a good bit of taunting," says Allan Bain. "Before the final of the 2011 Ice Hockey World Championships, the same paper said beating Finland would be "child's play". Finland ended up beating Sweden 5-1. A good omen for England's game tonight, perhaps?" Then again, English papers can't talk about a misplaced sense of confidence, can they?
2 min: Andy Carroll's second contribution is to dump Anders Svensson to the floor. That's two fouls in the first two minutes from the big man. An outstanding start. This is going to end badly, isn't it?
3 min: The Swedish fans are making quite the racket. This has been an agricultural start at best: four free-kicks inside three minutes! "I'm not sure you fully grasp the concept of 'danger'," says Matt Dony. "Bypassing a midfield that comprises Parker and Milner is, in attacking terms, a 'good thing'. To most observers, 'good things' are preferable to 'danger'. Glad to help toward your education."
4 min: England make themselves known up front for the first time, but Parker's attempted through-ball to Ashley Cole is overhit. That shouldn't have been a hard pass to make. "I managed to endure 45 seconds of Moyles and Dave before tearing my own ears off," says
Vincent van Gogh Matt Royal.
6 min: England's Two Banks Of Four are already clicking into gear. A lot of teams are going to find them hard to break down if they keep their shape and maintain discipline and concentration. They're starting to settle down now after a nervy start. A decent opportunity opened up for them around the Sweden box, but between them Cole, Milner, Welbeck and Gerrard were all too hesitant and they ended up being pushed further and further back until they were on the halfway line.
7 min: England are really starting to settle down now. Welbeck lays the ball off to Parker on the edge of the area, and he catches a first-time effort beautifully, the ball heading sharply towards the top-left corner. But Isaksson is behind it all the way, flying to his right to parry the shot away.
9 min: Ibrahimovic pings a high pass from left to right in a bid to find Seb Larsson, but Ashley Cole, perhaps the outstanding member of the Golden Generation, reads its flight and nods the ball calmly back to Joe Hart. Is there an argument to be made that Ashley Cole is the greatest left-back of all time?
10 min: Welbeck and Carroll link up for the first time. Welbeck deftly finds Carroll on the halfway line with a clever flick and the Liverpool striker spins expertly away from Mellberg, who hauls him to the floor. Carroll shrugged off the defender as if he wasn't there. An encouraging sign for England if he has the upper hand.
11 min: Larsson, who has a habit of scoring the odd screamer here and there, ambitiously tries to score from 35 yards out. He catches it well, but it's straight at Joe Hart. "Excuse me please for pointing out the obvious but speaking of Ibrahimovic you have to bear in mind that 2012 is the first year he DIDN'T win the national championship with his team for the last eight years?" says Kim Belov. He was winning the title in every country he was playing in, with Ajax, Juventus (twice, both stripped), Internazionale (three
times), Barcelona and AC Milan. That's something you can't ignore!" You also can't ignore his record in Europe.
13 min: Radbert Grimmig offers Phillip Lahm as the greatest left-back of all time. An excellent player, but I'd just about take Cole over him. Lahm's probably better as a right-back as well, isn't he?
15 min: This is the plan for England. James Milner makes space down the right and whips a fine cross into the box. Around eight yards from goal, Welbeck easily gets above Mellberg, but the ball skims off his head and well off target. Still, a sign that Sweden are vulnerable in the air. "Come on Jacob, Roberto Carlos defended and attacked 3 times as much as Ashley," says Chris Oquendo. Cole was definitely a better left-back than Roberto Carlos.
17 min: Larsson curves a lovely ball from the right towards Ibrahimovic, standing all alone around 20 yards from goal. What were Terry and Lescott up to? Luckily Glen Johnson, much improved since the World Cup, was alive to the danger and got across to prod the ball back to Hart, who skewed it out for a throw-in.
20 min: Ibrahimovic cuts inside from the left. England back off and invite the shot, an invitation he duly accepts, but Hart saves his low drive from 20 yards down at his near post. England paid for such slackness when Samir Nasri equalised for France. They haven't learned their lesson. "Im going to toss Ian Harte's name out there for the best left back ever, just for (free) kicks," says Hugh Collins.
21 min: From the ridiculous to the sublime for John Terry. Despite having a headstart on Ibrahimovic, he allows himself to be embarrassingly outpaced by the big striker as they chase an aimless ball down the right-hand channel. Terry looked so cumbersome there, but fortunately for England, he stood up to Ibrahimovic well and easily blocked the pass.
GOAL! Sweden 0-1 England (Carroll, 23 min): Roy Hodgson will allow himself a quiet smile, because his plan has worked to perfection. On the right flank, Steven Gerrard bends a sumptuous ball into the area that was just begging to be headed in. With Sweden's central defenders all over the place, Carroll gets in between them and bullets a towering header into the bottom-left corner from 12 yards out, Isaksson given no chance. What a header! What a managerial masterstroke!
25 min: Immediately after taking the lead, England go to sleep, allowing Rasmus Elm to nip in behind them on the left. His cross was hurried and a waste though.
27 min: Of course, many of you are naming
Phil Neville Paolo Maldini as the best left-back of all time. He has a compelling case.
28 min: Sweden haven't come up with much of a response yet. Before England's goal, I was going to say that much of their crossing hadn't been good enough, but then Gerrard came up with a moment of sheer class. "I think it was Johan Cruyff who called Terry Phelan the best in the world, and who are you to argue?" says Dave Boland. I think it was Francis Benali actually.
30 min: Sweden are relying on Ibrahimovic to come up with something special. He's capable of it, but so far England have kept him well away from their goal. "Mark Lawrenson's voice is the sound of a man disappointed with his lot in life," says John Delaney. "It is the sound of the stranger who sidles up to you in the pub asking if you want to play a game of pool and then returns ten minutes after you decline to ask for one pound twenty towards a pint of mild. It is the sound of the dull background internal narrative of every human being... the sound of what we may become."
33 min: Parker tries a one-two with Welbeck 30 yards from the Sweden goal. The move breaks down and instantly Sweden break through Ibrahimovic. He tricks Parker with a cute backheel and then goes for goal from 25 yards out, but a combination of Parker and Terry takes the sting out of the shot, making it a comfortable save for Hart. "Sorry Jacob, but Andreas Brehme was a wonderful wing back, and was (when at his best) far better than Ashley Cole," says William Macpherson. "Brehme could hit free kicks and penalties ludicrously well, could send in wonderful crosses and he was also able to use both feet very accurately. Hands down a better left back." Rob Smyth brought up his name when we had this discussion yesterday.
34 min: Ibrahimovic is down after being caught fairly innoccuously by John Terry, who sportingly puts the ball out of play. When they show the replay, it becomes apparent that John Terry also caught his foot in the turf, but didn't go down. "Yeah, but he's a warrior," drones Mark Lawrenson, whose commentary throughout this tournament has been a risible disgrace.
35 min: Ashley Young misses a great chance to extend England's lead. He was found in acres of space down the left flank by a straight pass down the line from Ashley Cole. He took the ball into the area, but his first touch just seemed to take the ball behind him, and he ended up dragging a poor right-footed shot harmlessly past the near post from 15 yards out. A waste.
36 min: Kallstrom sends a stinging drive over the top from 20 yards out. But if that's the best Sweden can come up with, England will be very happy indeed. Joe Hart has hardly been called into action at all.
38 min: Andy Carroll assaults the referee! Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. A free-kick was given to Sweden just outside their area, but Carroll didn't react to the whistle in time and instead steamed on to the ball and booted it straight into the referee's chest from point-blank range. Amazingly the Slovenian ref just takes it in his stride. A true pro.
41 min: Excellent goalkeeping from Joe Hart, as he speeds off his line to smother the ball at the feet of Elmander after a knock-down from Larsson had left the England defence in a bit of a mess. "Mark Lawrenson has always sounded like Mavis from Coronation Street to me," says Matt Mealor. "Or Les Dennis' impression of Mavis perhaps."
43 min: It's worth noting that in both 2002 and 2006, England led Sweden 1-0 at half time, but ended up drawing both times.
44 min: Welbeck roars past Olsson 40 yards out and hurtles off towards the Sweden goal. With five Sweden defenders back, Welbeck has to go it alone, but Mellberg produces a tackle not too dissimilar to Bobby Moore's famous one on Jairzinho in the 1970 World Cup. Probably the only time these two players will be compared to Bobby Moore and Jairzinho. Up the other end, Ibrahimovic curls a low cross into the six-yard box, but Hart plunges out to claim it.
Half time: Sweden's Ponytail 0-1 England's Ponytail. In the one minute of stoppage time, a raking pass nearly finds Svensson's burst through the middle but Hart is there again. A toot of the whistle brings an end to an excellent first half for England. Roy Hodgson will be extremely pleased with himself for picking Andy Carroll, whose header separates the two sides.
"Lineker just opened with your 2002/2006 fact (43min)," says David Russell. "He's got your MBM updating under the desk, the suave crisp merchant!!"
"Now I know it's a game plan devised around England's limitations, and a game plan which it has to be said seems to be working fairly well," says Rob Handfield. "However, I reckon the highest number of passes England have managed without a Swedish player touching the ball is 6 (six). We're winning, so I'm not sure what my point is, maybe that it is so boring to watch I am counting passes..." Leave the 'tiki-taka' to 'Spain'.
"Mark Lawrenson has always reminded me of the League of Gentlemen character Les McQueen, ex member of Creme Brulee, constantly harking on about past glories and mooching around informing anyone who'll listen 'it's a s**t business'," parps Phil Sawyer.
"I give you Paul Breitner, penalty taker, goal scorer, fashion icon and revolutionary," says Paul Ewart. "And a shout to Joey Jones, fashion icon."
"Has anybody ever found anything Mark Lawrenson has said funny," says Philip Nevet. "Could someone please explain to him that he's a commentator an not a comic. Annoying doesn't do him justice."
"That Andy Carroll looks like a Drogba mark 2 in the making," says Chris Goater. "Chelsea should try and get him by offloading an underperforming striker plus a big wad of cash."
"I loved Maldini; was secretly fond of Dennis Irwin (for Ireland at least, and of course he wasn't exclusively on the left); but Andreas Brehme has to be the best Left Back," says John Duffy. "He had a few problems in the hairstyle department, mind, but what German doesn't?"
Sorry, that tackle by Moore was of course on Jairzinho, not Pele. Let's look at that tackle by Moore.
46 min: Off we go again. Sweden will have to improve immeasurably to get back into this. Or wait for the inevitable England retreat. Or a Danny Mills moment. "I thought the readers ought to know that Michael Ballack, when talking about Carroll's goal, referred to the crosser of the ball as, 'Steven Lampard'," says Eric Penner. "And who says they can't play together in midfield? They're clearly the same guy."
47 min: If Sweden don't get an equaliser, they will be the second team, after Ireland, to exit the competition. "Now then Jacob, I'm plugging away on this one," says Adrian Neville. "England's game plan is to whip them in to the big man. Milner has done it well a couple of times; Ashley Young hasn't. He exudes fear. He'll be the first to be subbed surely. He's a great talent, it's very frustrating." There's an excellent player in Young, but so often he seems to hide or play within himself.
GOAL! Sweden 1-1 England (Johnson own goal, 49 min): An Emile Heskey on Claude Makelele episode here, only with Andy Carroll and Kim Kallstrom in the lead roles. Carroll brings the Swedish midfielder down as he lined up a shot 25 yards out, giving away a free-kick. Ibrahimovic smacked his first effort into the wall, but it came back to him, so he tried an optimistic scissor-kick back into the area. It was going well wide, but it squirmed through to Mellberg, who was played onside by Glen Johnson, having a wee snooze around three yards behind the rest of the England defence. On the right side of the area, Mellberg scuffed a finish that spooned up off Hart and then clanged off Johnson's chest, the ball eventually spinning over the line despite his best efforts. What a slapstick farce that was.
51 min: So, just like in 2002 and 2006, England have been pegged back by Sweden after half time. It was such a soft goal. Hodgson will be furious, because Sweden have offered so little in open play. To concede so sloppily from a set-piece is unforgivable.
53 min: Parker tees up Gerrard, but Kallstrom flings himself Scott Parker-style in the way of his volley from 25 yards out. "Lots of people beat me to it (Irwin, Phelan etc ( I am Irish before you ask)) so my next choice would be Julian Dicks," says Karl. "N.B. I do not actually think he is the best, that would undoubtedly be Maldini, but thought I would throw it into the mix."
54 min: It's very scrappy. It has been throughout, but it's been particularly noticeable since the equaliser. England need to calm down. "On the plus side, nothing has changed with Sweden's goal: we still need to beat the Ukraine," says Oliver Dennis. Not so. If England win this, they'll only need a draw against Ukraine.
56 min: Glen Johnson goes some way to redeeming himself for his earlier error with a superb saving tackle to deny Rasmus Elm. Admittedly it was his fault that the chance came about in the first place, as he was caught out by a glorious pass inside him from Kallstrom to release Elm, but before the Sweden midfielder could shoot and surely score, Johnson slid in to concede a throw. From that, Kallstrom nearly creates another chance with a cross from the left that finds Larsson at the far post. But Larsson takes his eye off the ball and the chance is gone.
58 min: A rampaging Martin Olsson is brought down in full flight by Milner on the left. The England winger is booked. Sweden are growing in confidence. England are rocking a little.
GOAL! Sweden 2-1 England (Mellberg, 59 min): Hang on, which side was meant to be rubbish at dealing with crosses? From the resulting free-kick, Larsson hangs a high, deep free-kick to the far post where Mellberg, totally unmarked six yards from goal, barely has to jump to nod past Hart and into the left corner. Where on earth was the marking? No one was near Mellberg, apart from more Sweden players. England have completely collapsed.
61 min: England make their first change, Theo Walcott on for James Milner. And they have a corner too. Things are looking up!
62 min: Gerrard's corner eventually falls to Johnson on the edge of the area, but his low drive is blocked. From there, Sweden break through Elmander with the England defence nowhere to be seen. Elmander moves it to the left for Ibrahimovic, whose initial burst takes him past Johnson, but again the right-back recovers to take the sting out of the shot.
GOAL! Sweden 2-2 England (Walcott, 64 min): Theo Walcott equalises with his first touch! What a substitution from Roy Hodgson! It all came from an England corner, won when John Terry's close-range header from Johnson's cross was somehow turned over the bar by Isaksson, who may not have known too much about it. From the resulting corner, a clearance falls to Walcott 25 yards out. He takes a touch and rams a shot goalwards. It takes a tiny but decisive touch off Larsson and flies past the wrong-footed Isaksson into the middle of the goal. A fine response from England after a disastrous opening to the second half.
66 min: Sweden bring on Michael Lustig for the injured Granqvist.
67 min: Hodgson is furious that what looked like an illegal shoulder barge on Gerrard on the edge of the Sweden area went unpunished. That happened in the France game too and no free-kick was given. Justice for Stevie!
69 min: It's Robben-esque at times from Ibrahimovic, who is only passing to a fellow Sweden player if he absolutely has to. What an exhibitionist. It's the Zlatan Show. Without much of an end product, mind you.
70 min: Carroll lets fly from 20 yards out, but his shot soars high and wide. That was a presentable opportunity for Carroll, who also could have played in Walcott to his right.
71 min: Joe Hart will be mightily relieved England did not concede from this corner. He should have dealt with a simple backpass, but for instead allowed it to roll over his foot and behind the line. It looked like he had got away with it as the referee and linesman gave nothing between them, but play was pulled back by the official behind the goal. BUT I THOUGHT THEY DID NOTHING. Just as well Hart catches the corner that comes from his mistake and then Jonas Olsson is booked for blocking the goalkeeper's clearance.
74 min: A free-kick to England, 25 yards out. Ashley Young stands over it, but can only float a tame effort over the bar. "But Ibrahimovic's ability to knock English players off the ball/retain possession has been incredible," points out Allan Bain.
75 min: What a chance for Kim Kallstrom. Martin Olsson romped down the left flank and despite the attentions of Johnson and Walcott, the Sweden left-back slipped past both of them, before pulling the ball back to Kallstrom who blazed high and wide with his right foot from 15 yards out. In fairness, he was put off by Lescott.
76 min: From what was a fairly turgid first half, the second half has been a wonderfully frenetic affair. On the left, Elmander sprays a pass across the edge of the area to Ibrahimovic, who takes a touch to get the ball out of his feet and then ram an awesome shot towards the far corner, bringing a cracking save out of Hart, who punches the corner away.
WHAT A GOAL! Sweden 2-3 England (Welbeck, 78 min): This is a quite magnificent finish from Danny Welbeck, one that even Zlatan Ibrahimovic would have been proud of. Theo Walcott, who has made a real difference since coming on, drove into the area on the right. It looked like he was going nowhere, but he managed to clip a cross into the six-yard box, where Welbeck was lurking. Even then, there appeared to be little danger for Sweden, because Welbeck had a defender up his back, was facing away from goal and was on the verge of losing his balance. But somehow he contorted his body into an absurd position, letting the ball run across his body before sticking out his right leg and deftly flicking it beyond Isaksson and into the bottom-left corner with his right heel! A moment of pure genius from Welbeck, rather reminiscent of Ibrahimovic's ridiculous backflick against Italy in 2004.
80 min: A change for Sweden: Markus Rosenberg on, Johan Elmander off.
81 min: Another change for Sweden: Christian Wilhelmsson replaces Rasmus Elm.
82 min: England could have wrapped the game up here. They broke at pace from a Sweden attack, Walcott leading the charge up the right. Some of the move's impetus was lost by successive poor passes from Walcott and Gerrard, before Parker eventually cracked one over the bar from long range. There's then a stoppage of play with Theo Walcott down after that run, feeling the back of his calf. After lengthy consultations, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is sent back to the dug-out, Walcott deciding he can continue.
86 min: Lescott barges into Rosenberg on the right flank, giving Sweden another chance to launch a high ball into the box. "Genius to Dunce to Genius again, that's Uncle Roy's evolution today," says Chris Mrema.
87 min: Larsson sends the free-kick in and there's Andy Carroll to head it away. Sweden need a goal or they are out.
88 min: Joe Hart comes for another corner and punches it away. He has been outstandingly decisive. "It's just gone 6.30am in Melbourne and I'm without TV or radio coverage," says Chris Langmead. "Relying on just MBM to bring me the game, would it be fair to say that this really is something of a basement battle and if either of these teams came up against anyone with vague talent or passing ability they would be toast? I'd dearly live to be wrong, but fear that I'm not..." It's true, Spain will not be terrified by this display, but you have to admire this England performance. They have played well, especially since Sweden went ahead.
90 min: Finally Oxlade-Chamberlain does come on and the potential matchwinner, Danny Welbeck, is off.
90 min+1: There will be four minutes for England to hang on.
90 min+2: Andreas Isaksson keeps Sweden in the tournament. For now. With Sweden pushing forward in search of an equaliser, there is so much space for England to exploit now. Walcott, over his calf injury, surges clear down the right and centres it to Gerrard, whose volley is repelled by Isaksson. Could it be a costly miss?
90 min+4: Young gives the ball away in his own half, but when the ball is put into the England area, Jonas Olsson's awkward header loops over.
Full time: Sweden 2-3 England. That's it! It's all over and you're not going to believe this: England have beaten Sweden in a competitive game of football. No, really. Who said Roy Hodgson's England don't do excitement? That was one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament so far, full of moments of genius and ineptitude in equal measure. It looked like England had blown it when they found themselves 2-1 behind in the second half, but an inspired comeback, led by Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, means they are second in the group, behind France only on goal difference. Next up, it's Ukraine and England only need a draw to seal a place in the last eight. Wayne Rooney will be available after his suspension ... but who needs Wayne Rooney when you've got Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll? Thanks for reading. Bye.