Sweden 0-1 England
Jesse Lingard’s 85th-minute strike ended a frustrating wait for England and breathed life into their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
Just as they looked to have run out of ideas, England revived their UEFA European Under-21 Championship hopes in Olomouc.
Gareth Southgate has always demanded his team “play with a certain style”, but even his patience must have been tested at the Ander Stadium.
England passed, they prodded and they probed – Sweden stood firm. The Young Lions appeared too methodical and ponderous in much of their build-up; then up popped Jesse Lingard.
That the substitute winger’s goal came following a corner was little surprise considering England had looked at their most dangerous when adopting a less scenic route than is Southgate’s want.
Nathan Redmond, Carl Jenkinson and Harry Kane – the three threats pinpointed by Håkan Ericson on Saturday – combined well on 27 minutes, but the Tottenham striker was stretching too much to direct his header on target.
Will Hughes then looked to have a little more space after being played in by Alex Pritchard but was thwarted by Filip Helander’s last-ditch block.
Half-chances for Simon Tibbling, John Guidetti and Isaac Kiese Thelin were all the Swedes mustered in the opening 45 minutes. Their persistence with two up front, however, ensured England could not afford to attack with abandon.
Southgate opted to mirror that 4-4-2 formation by bringing on Danny Ings at the break.
The Liverpool-bound forward was sprightly enough, but it was England’s No9 who remained their pivot, Jenkinson so nearly the beneficiary soon after the hour when he raced onto a Kane cutback and shot into the side-netting.
Even a strike partnership that scored a combined 32 Premier League goals last season appeared unable to unpick this lock.
England’s wait for a first goal from open play since Danny Welbeck’s effort in a 2-1 defeat by the Czech Republic on 19 June 2011 thus looked set to continue, until Lingaard controlled a half-cleared corner on his chest and volleyed in from the edge of the penalty area.
The 459-minute wait was over.