England draw with Sweden to reach quarters
Monday, 31 August, 2009
England secure a place in last eight of UEFA Women's Euro 2009
Stuart Mawhinney in Turku
England booked their place in the last eight of the UEFA Women's European Championship after a draw with Sweden.
Hope Powells side finished Group C in third place and go through to a quarter-final clash with hosts Finland on Thursday afternoon back in Turku.
Captain Faye White had given England the lead in a close match, only for Victoria Svensson to level the scores from the spot on the brink of half-time.
Sweden dominated the opening exchanges, with England showing a level of nervousness in their passing and defensive play. Sue Smith earned England some respite by winning a corner after six minutes, and though the ball dropped for Kelly Smith on the edge of the area her right foot effort sailed wide of the goal.
Eniola Aluko found space in the wide left channel from a well weighted pass by Casey Stoney, as England grew in belief. Aluko hit the byeline but her cross was cut out by Lindahl in the Swedish goal.
With 20 minutes gone Sweden thought they had scored the opener from a Stina Segerstrom corner. Seger headed the ball home, but a push on Rachel Brown saw England breath again. Up the other end, Sue Smith reached an in swinging cross from Karen Carney but headed straight into Lindahl's arms.
That moment was cheered by the vocal England support and opened the game a little with chances flowing more freely for both teams. Faye White gave England the lead with a superb set piece after 28 minutes, heading in an inch-perfect cross from Carney. Carney had earned the free-kick in the middle of Sweden's half, and when Fara Williams laid the ball to the winger her cross was perfect. White rose highest and guided her header superbly into the far corner.
England endured a heart-in-mouth moment less than a minute after scoring as Svensson capitalised on a loose ball from Lindsay Johnson. Though she worked the opening well, her shot went straight into the grateful arms of Rachel Brown.
Lotta Schelin squandered a huge chance to level the scores just six minutes before the interval. From a deep Asllani cross, Svensson headed down to the waiting Schelin who scuffed her effort wide.
It mattered not for Schelin as she played her part in the equalising goal just moments later. Sweden were awarded a penalty five minutes before the break, when Chapman was adjudged to have fouled Schelin in the area. Victoria Svensson stepped up and squeezed her shot into the bottom corner to equalise.
Alex Scott saved England from going into the break behind as she headed off the line superbly from Thunebro's free-kick.
Kelly Smith almost scored a carbon copy of her incredible lob on Friday night in the opening moments of the second period. Again taking down a loose clearance from the opposing 'keeper, Smith reacted quickly to fire a looping shot that Lindahl tipped superbly over the bar.
From the resulting corner Fara Williams met the ball at the near post, only to flash a powerful header inches over. Smith hit the target with another left foot volley shortly after the hour mark. Moments later and Fara Williams was close to putting England back into the lead following superb play from Aluko and Carney. Carney lifted the ball through for Williams, and although the Everton midfielder got a touch, Lindahl was able to smother the ball and prevent a shot on goal.
Emily Westwood replaced Aluko with a quarter of the game remaining, showing her versatility by leading the line for England in the final period of the match. The final stages were a far less nervous affair than anticipated as both goalkeepers were well protected, and England assured in possession.
Faye White almost scored another header, again from a cross from Carney, but this time the ball went high over the bar but England were happy to be in the last eight,