clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

World Cup Day 12 - England top but plenty to think about

With Germany winning earlier in the day, it meant that England did not have to 'manufacture' a result to finish second in the group to avoid the hosts in the last sixteen.

Despite earning a draw against Sweden (and stretching their winless streak against them in the process) to top the group there were plenty of concerns at the final whistle ahead of expected media criticism tomorrow.

The match had barely got under way when Michael Owen suffered a knee injury - early reports range from a twisted knee to medial ligament damage, and was replaced by Crouch. An injury which makes the decision not to include Jermaine Defoe even more perplexing.

England appeared bright in the first half with Cole again standing out in midfield ahead of the 'bigger names' Beckham and Lampard. It was Cole who put England ahead just before half-time with a superb long range strike to send the side in at half time in a positive frame of mind.

The second half though was not one for England to take too many positives from. They again lost their way after the break (an increasingly common feature) and let Sweden back into the game through an Allback header. Sweden then increased the pressure and went close with a couple of chances, hitting the woodwork on a couple of occasions.

Rio Ferdinand went off (presumably as a precaution) and was replaced by Sol Campbell, before Rooney ran out of steam and made way for Gerrard. It was Gerrard who - against the run of play, put England back in front with a well taken header from a Joe Cole pass.

The game was not finished though and from a long throw Larsson got a faint touch to guide it past Robinson and Cole to end the match at 2-2.

Prior to the game the objective was to avoid Germany in the last sixteen, and in Ecuador they now play what will probably be the weakest opposition. It was by no means all doom and gloom but there are concerns ahead of the knockout stages.

Plus points:
The performance of Joe Cole
Seventy minutes for Wayne Rooney
Avoiding Germany in the next round
Strong defensive play at times

Minus points:
The injury to Michael Owen
Theo Walcott still not seeing some action
Paul Robinson appearing hesitant at times
The inability to keep a clean sheet against a side with attacking threat