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Record-breaking England ease past Sweden

Tuesday 5 February 2013 22.18 CET
Thomas Ince celebrates after scoring the first of his two goals in Walsall

Two goals from Thomas Ince – his first at Under-21 level – against Sweden in Walsall helped a dominant England team set a new national record of seven successive victories.

The outcome of the friendly was never in doubt from the moment the Blackpool FC winger struck after ten minutes. Jonjo Shelvey doubled the lead for Stuart Pearce's side, who have not conceded throughout their winning run, before Ince turned in the rebound after Josh McEachran's 41st-minute penalty had been saved by Andreas Linde. Substitute Connor Wickham rounded off the scoring with 13 minutes remaining. 

The hosts, through to June's UEFA European U21 Championship finals in Israel, ought to have been a goal to the good through captain Jordan Henderson before Ince slid in to convert right-back Adam Smith's cross. That came while Sweden were down to ten men – Alexander Milošević was off receiving treatment for a facial injury – but the centre-back's return did little to stem the flow of England attacks.

Shelvey, who has four UEFA Europa League goals this season for Liverpool FC, scored via the underside of the crossbar after another delivery from Smith kicked up off the backtracking Joel Allansson. Ince then followed up to spare McEachran's blushes, Filip Helander having brought down the goalscorer as he ran onto a long ball.

The only threat to England's run of clean sheets came early in the second period when Mikael Ishak swept a shot narrowly over. At the other end, substitute goalkeeper August Strömberg denied Ince – whose father Paul was watching from the stands – a hat-trick from Wickham's centre. Wickham, though, had the last word, heading in Henri Lansbury's deep cross.

England: Steele (Rudd 46); Smith (Lees 75), Wisdom, Dawson, Robinson; Henderson (Hughes 46), McEachran (Chalobah 67); Ince, Shelvey (Lansbury 46), Afobe (Wickham 46); Zaha (Lowe 58).

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