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England picked up the result they required to see themselves safely through to the quarter finals of the Euro 2009 Finals when sharing a 1-1 draw with Sweden in Turku.
After a nervous opening, Hope Powell's side gave their most confident and assured performance overall to date and only a soft penalty decision denied them a notable win against one of the tournament's big guns.
One change was made to the England starting line up, Casey Stoney returning to the left back position after serving a one-match ban.
With a lot at stake going into the match, England looked jittery in possession in the early stages and caused themselves some unneccessary pressure following misplaced passes.
However the nerves soon disappeared and the side grew in confidence as they matched the physical presence of the powerful Swedish side. The England defence, which had looked so shaky against Russia, now looked a solid unit once again.
Sweden did get the ball in the net in the 20th minute from a Stina Segerstrom corner but Rachel Brown had been barged over by Victoria Svensson and a foul was awarded.
England's best chance to date came following some good work on the left by Karen Carney, swinging in a dangerous cross to the far post where Sue Smith found space but her header lacked power and Hedvig Lindahl was able to save comfortably.
Four minutes later though, England made the breakthrough with the goal they craved. A nasty foul on Carney by Therese Sjogran led to a free kick, from which Fara Williams found Carney who floated the ball into the area for Faye White to plant a firm header beyond Lindahl. It was the first goal that Sweden had conceded in 11 games in the tournament, including their qualifying group.
England were almost caught cold straight away, a mistake from Lindsay Johnson let in Svensson whose shot was held by Brown after she had worked herself an opening.
Sweden stepped up the pressure with Lotta Schelin missing the target following a nod down by Svensson, but the equaliser was to come five minutes before the interval as Katie Chapman made an ill-advised challenge on Schelin in the area and a penalty was awarded. The experienced Svensson stepped up to place a low shot just beyond the dive of Brown to put her side back on level terms.
It could have been worse for England in injury time as a mistimed tackle by Johnson on Segerstrom earned Sweden a free kick in a dangerous position. Sara Thunebro curled the kick goalwards but an alert Alex Scott was on hand to head off the line.
England came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second half and were nearly rewarded as Kelly Smith almost repeated her stunning goal against Russia in the previous match. Once again, a clearance from the goalkeeper went straight at the England star who lobbed the ball back towards goal but this time Lindahl was able to get back and make a last ditch save.
There was a scare as Johnson, who had injured herself when giving away the free kick just before half time, limped off for more treatment but the defender was able to carry on and finished the game without any further problems.
Kelly Smith tested Lindahl with a crisp left foot volley just after the hour mark and the Swedish goalkeeper needed to make a save from Williams after she broke into the area from Carney's lofted pass.
Hope Powell made a change with Emily Westwood playing an unusual role up front in place of Eniola Aluko and, despite the news that Italy were winning against Russia, both sides looked very content with the 1-1 scoreline and the chance to keep away from Germany in the last eight.
White could have scored a second goal when she sent a free header over the bar but there were no other scares at either end and England were more than happy with the final score and another improvement in performance.
Now England must take on tournament hosts Finland, again in Turku, in the quarter finals on Thursday (2pm) and they will approach the match with confidence. If they can win that game, France or Holland would await in the semi finals...
England: Rachel Brown, Alex Scott, Casey Stoney, Fara Williams, Lindsay Johnson, Faye White, Karen Carney, Katie Chapman, Eniola Aluko (sub Emily Westwood 65mins), Kelly Smith, Sue Smith (sub Jess Clarke 90mins).
Sweden: Hedvig Lindahl, Charlotte Rohlin, Stina Segerstrom, Anna Paulson, Caroline Seger, Sara Thunebro, Therese Sjogran, Lotta Schelin (sub Sara Linden 90mins), Lisa Dahlqvist (sub Jessica Landstrom 60mins), Kosovare Asllani (sub Linda Nilsson 68mins), Victoria Svensson.
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