June 20, 2006

England play out exciting draw with Sweden

By Trevor Huggins

COLOGNE (Reuters) - England drew 2-2 with Sweden on Tuesday
to earn a second round World Cup clash with Ecuador while the
Swedes go through to face hosts Germany.

England, who lost striker Michael Owen to a knee injury
after just two minutes, took the lead with a stunning 34th
minute volley by Joe Cole from over 30 meters.

Sweden leveled with a Marcus Allback header in the 51st
minute and were unlucky not to knock England off the top of
Group B after creating a string of chances.

Steven Gerrard put England back in front with a header from
a Cole cross four minutes from time, but Henrik Larsson brought
the scores level again after a long throw deceived the defense.

England were rattled by the sight of Owen leaving on a
stretcher and struggled to keep possession for the opening 20
minutes against a combative Sweden side, who have not lost to
them in 12 matches stretching back 38 years.

"We did well in the first half but then Sweden did better
in the second half and they scored from two set pieces," said
England's Swedish coach Sven-Goran Erikssson. "Of course, we
have to do better because we cannot concede goals like that."

Substitute Gerrard added: "The most important thing today
was to top the group. We wanted to keep the same tempo in the
second half. From the bench it looked really difficult because
they were pushing for the goal."

Sweden midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg agreed that it was a
tough match. "It was quite a tight game. "They (England) must
be very disappointed. It will be great to play them (Germany)."

Ljungberg was a threatening presence while defender Teddy
Lucic sent in a superb angled drive from a corner that was
charged down by Frank Lampard.

Wayne Rooney, in his first World Cup start after a
substitutes' appearance in last week's 2-0 win over Trinidad &
Tobago, helped redress the balance with some nice passes and a
shot that ricocheted off Lucic.


It was nothing compared to the subsequent candidate for one
of the goals of the tournament.

Cole controlled a headed clearance by Niclas Alexandersson
with his chest and struck a long-range shot that keeper Andreas
Isaksson could only touch on to the inside of his post as it
flew in.

However, the sense of euphoria among England fans and the
team's clean sheets at these finals lasted only six minutes
after the break.

Tobias Linderoth curled over a corner from the right and
Allback's glancing header beat keeper Paul Robinson and Ashley
Cole on the line.

Sweden were nearly 2-1 up minutes later when Ljungberg's
header was parried on to the underside of the bar by Robinson
in a goalmouth melee.

Eriksson replaced Rio Ferdinand with Sol Campbell in
central defense but the next chance fell to Sweden when captain
Olof Mellberg hit the top of the bar.

Sweden had a nervous England side on the ropes and were
clearly looking to deliver the knockout blow, prompting
Eriksson to swap Rooney for Gerrard.

Gerrard promptly cleared off the line with his first touch
after a Kim Kallstrom effort and then put England ahead in the
85th minute with a firm header from a far post Cole cross.

But the drama was not over as Larsson got the final touch
on a long throw by Erik Edman in the 90th to salvage a draw and
Sweden's unbeaten run against England stretching back to 1968.


90+3 FULLTIME - England 2 Sweden 2

90 SUBSTITUTE - (Sweden) Daniel Andersson brought on to
replace Linderoth moments after the goal.


A long throw from Edman is touched in by Larsson for a
last-minute dramatic equalizer.

87 YELLOW CARD - Ljungberg is book for a nasty lunge on Joe


Gerrard heads perfectly from a Joe Cole cross to the far
post and Andreas Isaksson is powerless to stop it.

83 YELLOW CARD - Niclas Alexandersson is booked for a late
tackle on Joe Cole.

76 YELLOW CARD - Owen Hargreaves booked for deliberate

74 SUBSTITUTE - (Sweden) Scorer Allback makes way for Johan

72 ACTION - Gerrard's first job is to clear a stinging
drive from Kim Kallstrom off his goalline.

69 SUBSTITUTE - (Sweden) A tiring Rooney is replaced by
Steven Gerrard.

62 ACTION - Campbell makes a desperate and decisive block
from Larsson as Sweden threaten on the break.

59 ACTION - Sweden captain Olof Mellberg hooks on to the
top of the bar after a Linderoth corner causes a flutter of
panic in the English defense again.

56 SUBSTITUTE - (Sweden) Sol Campbell comes on to replace a
limping Rio Ferdinand at the back as England's injury worries

55 ACTION - England keeper Paul Robinson pushes Ljunberg's
bullet header against the crossbar after a Kim Kallstrom

54 SUBSTITUTE - (Sweden) Mattias Jonson makes way for
Christian Wilhelmsson on the right.

51 GOAL - Sweden 1 England 1

Sweden equalize from a corner on their left, Marcus Allback
leaping to head a Tobias Linderoth delivery past Cole on the
goalline. It is the 2,000th goal scored in World Cup finals.

45+1 HALFTIME - Sweden 0 England 1

45 ACTION - Lampard tries to chip the keeper from inside
the area but it is easily caught.

39 ACTION - A superb last-ditch tackle by Rio Ferdinand
halts a marauding run into the England penalty box by Freddie

35 ACTION - Mattias Jonson blasts wide moments after
England's goal after a clever lay-off from Henrik Larsson as
Sweden push for an immediate response.


Joe Cole scores an extraordinary goal, chesting the ball
down from over 30 meters out and volleying perfectly into the
top right corner.

29 ACTION - Ashley Cole's tenacity wins England a free kick
on the left side of the penalty box which David Beckham fires
direct for goal and it is punched out for a corner.

25 ACTION - Rooney again gets behind the Swedish defense
but his shot is brilliantly blocked by Teddy Lucic.

12 ACTION - Lampard, yet again, gets on the end of an
England attack, Wayne Rooney feeding him in the box but his
header flies well wide.

4 SUBSTITUTE - Owen is taken down the tunnel on a stretcher
and Peter Crouch, who is on a yellow card, takes over up front.

3 ACTION - Frank Lampard fires just wide from outside the
area with a speculative effort for England.

2 ACTION - Michael Owen of England goes down clutching his
right knee and looks set to be substituted.

0 KICKOFF - Sweden kick off.