England knew they had to win their final game against the
host country, Sweden, in Stockholm to be sure of a place in the semi-finals.
In pursuit of that victory the manager Graham Taylor again made changes
introducing Tony Daley, Aston Villa's speedy winger, into his attack and
Manchester United's Neil Webb into midfield in the hope of producing a better
supply to his strikers. It was a sound enough intent against the Swedes,
who had drawn with France 1-1 and defeated Denmark 1-0 in their earlier
England could not have begun more encouragingly, taking the
lead in only the fourth minute of the match with David Platt against the
scorer. Platt, whose move from Bari to Juventus for over £6m had been
finalised while he was in Sweden, had been England's only scorer in the four
previous internationals, perhaps a pointer to the major problem the side
encountered in Sweden. However, he was there to finish a move that had
been begun by Webb, with David Batty heading the ball on and Gary Lineker
providing the centre.
The goal stunned the Swedes and it was England's
opportunity to take advantage; but once again the second goal that would
surely have finished the Swedes didn't come. There was a wonderful
chance in the 34th minute when Daley was freed down the right flank by Platt.
It seemed all he had to do was roll the ball into Lineker's path, but yet
again the final ball was a poor one. The chances came, Daley wasting a
header and Andy Sinton shooting wide, but at half-time England still held that
slenderest of advantages. The fears were confirmed in the second half
when the Swedes came out a transformed side.
Jan Eriksson, who had been a Tottenham trialist earlier in
the year, headed his second goal of the tournament, almost a replica of his
first against France. It was now the Swedes who gained in strength and
they used that physical edge to overwhelm England, A winner threatened,
and when it came it was a fine sweeping move between Martin Dahlin and Tomas
Brolin with Parma's Brolin supplying the final touch. There was no
coming back for England who seemed mentally and physically drained. The
Swedes, who are fed a weekly diet of English soccer, had beaten the country
they learned from at their own game. - The F.A. England Year 1992-93, Stanley Paul & Co Ltd, London,
1992, pages 22 & 23.
England's European championship challenge ended with a
depressing defeat by Sweden, who were allowed back into the game after David
Platt had scored an early goal. Tony Daley missed two opportunities to make
the game safe before Sweden gradually took control following the half-time
substitution of Anders Limpar by the veteran Johnny Ekstrom and a
change of tactics that had England's defenders completely bewildered. Jan
Eriksson headed an equaliser in the fifty-first minute, and as England
struggled to contain the suddenly buoyant Swedes Graham Taylor made the
controversial decision to call off skipper Gary Lineker for Alan Smith.
Lineker had fired his final shots for England after eighty caps and still a
goal short of Bobby Charlton's all-time record. England, needing a win to book
a place in the semi-finals, were being exposed to the perils of panic, and it
was the Swedes who conjured the goal that mattered seven minutes from the end
when the gifted Tomas Brolin exchanged passes with Dahlin before firing in the
winner. The media roof now fell in on Graham Taylor, who was depicted on the
back page of The Sun newspaper as a Turnip head – and ever since he has been
haunted by the nickname. 'Taylor the Turnip.' In the weeks following England's
exit stories emerged that revealed a huge split between Taylor and his skipper
Lineker had been damaging the team spirit during the European championships.