Swedes v Turnips: England’s record is really very poor

Date published: Wednesday 4th July 2018 2:24

England’s victory on penalties over Colombia has secured them a World Cup quarter-final meeting with Sweden – but history shows this is anything but an easy clash. Not that we care about history anymore.

The Three Lions’ record against the Swedes in matches either at World Cups, European Championship finals or in qualifying campaigns shows just one win, two defeats and five draws.

The first two of those games were 0-0 draws in qualifiers ahead of the 1990 World Cup, and here, we look at the six that followed…


Sweden 2 England 1 – European Championship finals group stage, June 17, 1992
England crashed out of Euro 92 at the group stage after their final game in the pool saw the tournament hosts come from behind to win. David Platt’s early opener was cancelled out by Jan Eriksson, and after England boss Graham Taylor then controversially took off Gary Lineker, Thomas Brolin fired in a fine winner late on. Famously, the match prompted the headline ‘Swedes 2 Turnips 1’ in one tabloid newspaper, which also produced an image of Taylor’s face superimposed onto a turnip.


Sweden 2 England 1 – European Championship qualifier, September 5, 1998
Glenn Hoddle’s England made a poor start to their Euro 2000 qualifying campaign as they were beaten in Stockholm, again having taken the lead. Alan Shearer put the visitors in front in the first minute before Sweden hit back with goals in quick succession from Andreas Andersson and Johan Mjallby around the half-hour mark. England’s misery then increased after the break as Paul Ince was sent off.


England 0 Sweden 0 – European Championship qualifier, June 5, 1999
With Hoddle having been succeeded by Kevin Keegan, England endured more frustration against the Swedes as they were held to a goalless draw and reduced to ten men once again. Paul Scholes’ dismissal in the second half made him the first man to be red-carded while playing for England at Wembley. England eventually finished a distant second to Sweden in that group and needed a play-off win over Scotland to get to Euro 2000.


England 1 Sweden 1 – World Cup finals group stage, June 2, 2002
England’s 2002 World Cup group stage opener in Saitama, Japan saw Sven-Goran Eriksson’s men go 1-0 up via a Sol Campbell header as he connected with David Beckham’s free-kick in the first half. Sweden replied just before the hour mark, with Niclas Alexandersson’s strike punishing a Danny Mills error. Five days later they beat Argentina 1-0.


England 2 Sweden 2 – World Cup finals group stage, June 20, 2006
Following the early setback of Michael Owen coming off injured, Joe Cole put England ahead in their final 2006 World Cup group game in Cologne with a superb volley before Marcus Allback drew things level. Steven Gerrard then headed in what appeared a winner with five minutes of normal time remaining, only for Henrik Larsson to register a second equaliser for the Swedes at the death. The draw secured England top place in the group and a winnable last-16 clash with Ecuador.


Sweden 2 England 3 – European Championship finals group stage, June 15, 2012
England fought back from 2-1 down in Kiev as Danny Welbeck’s back-heeled effort secured Roy Hodgson’s team three points from their second Euro 2012 group match. Having grabbed the lead through Andy Carroll’s header, England were behind after Olof Mellberg twice took advantage of slack defending, with a shot that went in off Glen Johnson and then a header of his own. The contest then turned around again as substitute Theo Walcott fired in before teeing up Welbeck.


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Win Or Lose: The Ultimate World Cup Playlist (Contact Music)

6 fantastic football movies to celebrate England beating Colombia at the World Cup (Female First)

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