England, who had led through Andy Carroll’s bullet header, conceded twice during a wretched 10-minute period after half-time to leave them deep in trouble.
But manager Roy Hodgson’s decision to replace James Milner with Arsenal attacker Walcott had an almost instant reward.
Within four minutes, Walcott collected a cleared corner on the edge of the box and equalised with a 20-yard shot that deceived Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.
And 14 minutes later, the England winger burst into the penalty box, went past two Swedish defenders and crossed for Danny Welbeck to flick in the winner.
It was a game-changing contribution from the 23-year-old, who was making his first appearance in a major tournament and scored his first England goal for nearly four years.
England’s display in numbers
- Theo Walcott was in possession for 15 seconds but was successful with all of his crosses and passes
- Walcott’s goal was his first for England since scoring a hat-trick against Croatia in a World Cup qualifier on 10 September 2008
- Walcott became England’s first substitute to score in a European Championship finals match
- Ashley Young and Andy Carroll lost possession on the most occasions for England – 18 times each
- England have the best conversion rate of any team at Euro 2012, scoring with a quarter of their shots
- Joe Hart is only behind Republic of Ireland’s Shay Given for the most saves made in Euro 2012
- The victory was the first time England have beaten Sweden in a major tournament
- Ashley Cole played his 20th match in a major tournament, equalling the most ever by an English player. David Beckham and Peter Shilton also played 20
What they said about England’s win:
“I wouldn’t say I was the game changer. It’s always nice to come off the bench and show what you can do. I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t played.” – Theo Walcott
“I’m happy with the finish and to get three points but it was disappointing to let in two goals. We came back, we stuck together and the team spirit showed.” – Danny Welbeck