World Cup 2010
Match Reports

England 1 Sweden 1
World Cup Finals - Group F
Saitama, Japan - Sunday 2 June 2002


This certainly was a game of two halves as the pundits like to say. There was so much expectation for this game, England's opening World Cup match. The country had waited excitedly for the first whistle which seemed to overshadow the Queen's Golden Jubilee. After touch and go for a week, Beckham had recovered enough from his broken foot to be in the starting line-up to the delight of the nation. England fans expected so much with the captain - nicknamed Golden Balls - playing, who earned his 50th cap.

The game starteds at a very fast pace, but neither team really tested the opposing goalkeepers, but it was entertaining football. England took the lead after 24 minutes from a Beckham corner. Sol Campbell rose high to meet the corner and nod the ball in the far corner of Sweden's net for his first goal for his country.

Ferdinand fouled Larsson but the resulting free-kick from 35-yards out went wide of England's goal. Seaman was forced to make his first save of the game on 39 minutes when Svensson played the ball back to Allback whose shot was thwarted by the Arsenal 'keeper, who had recovered from his groin injury which occured earlier in the week.

England went into the locker room at half-time narrowly in the lead but their performance late in the first half was not as good as the opening display. The pressure seemed to be coming from Sweden as you would expect, and they equalised on 59 minutes when Danny Mills clears the ball from the box, but only for him to play it straight to Alexandersson who with his left foot blasted the ball past Seaman and into the net. A nice finish to a mistake by Mills. Lucic almost put Sweden in the lead a minute later but Seaman was able to come up with a good save.

In the 63rd minute England took off an exhausted David Beckham and put in Kieron Dyer. Sweden pounced on the counter-attack minutes later but were again stopped by Seaman racing off his line to block the shot by Lucic. The game became a bit scrappy as both sides tried to steal victory but it wasn't to be and England once again found that they couldn't overcome the Swedes.

Now England must prepare for a fierce battle against rivals Argentina in six days. It should be a great game, if the last World Cup meeting between the two countries is anything to go by.


Teams

ENGLAND:
Seaman #1, Mills #2, A Cole #3, Ferdinand #5, Campbell #6, Beckham #7 (Dyer 63 mins - #23), Scholes #8, Hargreaves #18, Heskey #11, Vassell #20 (J Cole 74 mins - #19), Owen #10.
Subs Not Used: Sinclair #4, Fowler #9, Brown #12, Martyn #13, Bridge #14, Keown #15, Southgate #16, Sheringham #17, Butt #21, James #22. (Full Squad)

SWEDEN:
Hedman, Mellberg, Mjallby, Jakobsson, Lucic, Linderoth, Alexandersson, Ljungberg, Magnus Svensson (Anders Svensson 56 mins), Allback (Andreas Andersson 80 mins), Larsson.
Subs Not Used: Patrick Andersson, Michael Svensson, Kihlstedt, Antonelius, Edman, Jonson, Farnerud, Daniel Andersson, Ibrahimovic, Isaksson.


Match Details

England Goal: Campbell (24 mins)
Sweden Goal: Alexandersson (59 mins)

England Caution: Campbell
Sweden Cautions: Allback, Jakobsson

Referee: Carlos Simon (Brazil)

Attendance: 52,721