Hodgson: 'A cracking game'
Friday, 15 June, 2012
The Manager was pleased with England's response after going behind against Sweden.
England Manager Roy Hodgson was pleased with his team's 3-2 win in Kiev, which took them level on points with France at the top of Group D, after being rocked by Sweden early in the second half.
The Three Lions looked comfortable with their 1-0 lead at the break, given to them courtesy of Andy Carroll's excellent 23rd-minute header from Steven Gerrard's cross. But they were pegged back just after the break when Olof Mellberg, the former Aston Villa defender, netted twice from set-plays to keep the Swedes hopes of remaining in the competition alive.
But England came back to life when the manager introduced Theo Walcott in response to going behind. And within three minutes the Arsenal forward had scored before he laid on the winner for Danny Welbeck. The goal moved England onto four points with one group game left against Ukraine, and also registered a first ever competitive win against Sweden, sending them out of Euro 2012 in the process.
"It was a cracking game of football," said Hodgson after the game. "We were reasonably comfortable at half-time and had a good control of the game before they rocked us on our heels.
"We knew how dangerous they were from set-pieces and they proved true to that. But it was very good the way the team responded to that."
He continued: "It`s difficult at this level, we're playing against good teams. Our attacking play showed good intentions and we looked dangerous. We limited them to not too many opportunities in free play and we got a good victory against a team with good experience that can boast many caps."
Hodgson also praised captain Gerrard, who set-up his Liverpool clubmate for the first, after a commanding performance in the middle of midfield, while he also welcomed Wayne Rooney back into his selection plans after the Manchester United man sat out the first two games due to suspension.
"Steven has been fantastic ever since I was given the job," Hodgson said. "My first thought was to contact him and since then he hasn`t put a foot wrong as a captain, a person or a player. He`s playing like a captain should, as one
of the best players in the tournament."
He added: "Against Ukraine, a player like Rooney can make a major difference and I am delighted to welcome him back. If I did leave him out, all hell might break loose in the dressing room!"