ENGLAND 1, SWEDEN 0
England’s 43-year wait for victory against Sweden is finally over after their win in an international friendly at Wembley.
Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry initially claimed the matchwinner, which was also a milestone goal for England as it was their 2,000th at full international level, but it was later debited as an own goal from Daniel Majstorovic.
After Saturday’s win against World Cup winners and reigning Euro champions Spain, England were back in action three days later.
And they finally overcame bogey-side Sweden who they had failed to beat in their previous 12 meetings. Indeed, Bobby Moore was England captain when they last defeated the Scandinavians in 1968.
In truth England had enough chances to have triumphed by a wider margin as they were far too strong for Sweden.
City keeper Joe Hart and United’s Phil Jones were two of only four survivors from the starting line up against Spain. They joined Theo Walcott and Jack Rodwell in a new-look England side which included Tottenham’s Kyle Walker at right back with Fulham striker Bobby Zamora.
The closest to an early breakthrough came in the 17th minute following a delightful interchange of passes between Walcott and Zamora who fired into the side netting on the angle from inside the six-yard box.
It was not long before England took the lead in the 23rd minute as Barry’s header which looked to be going wide glanced off the forehead of Majstorovic and flew low to the left of Sweden’s former Manchester City keeper Andreas Isaksson from 10 yards.
Sweden’s first clear-cut chance came from Rasmus Elm’s inswinging corner in the 33rd minute which Hart clawed out from under the crossbar. Then from the resulting corner, former Bolton striker Johan Elmander’s near-post header flew into the side netting.
England had chances to build on their lead before the break as Rodwell had a shot deflected agonisingly wide for a corner while Jones burst clear only to fire inches wide with only Isaksson to beat.
There was a let off for England just before half-time, however, when Pontis Wernbloom’s header hit the upright.
England were then denied by the frame of the goal as Rodwell’s glancing header from Stewart Downing’s cross also struck the post.
Rodwell had another shot deflected wide for early in the second half as he looked every bit an England player in only his second full international appearance.
England changed keepers at the break as Scott Carson came on and he was soon followed by James Milner and Daniel Sturridge, the latter winning his first full England cap.
The hard-working Downing made an electrifying break from midfield only to be denied by Isaksson as England looked for a second goal to seal victory.
England were only occasionally threatened though, with 12 minutes left, Carson desperately palmed away Sebastian Larsson’s deep cross from the right which was curling over his head and under the crossbar.
There was a fright deep into stoppage time, however, when substitute Christian Wilhelmsson found himself through on goal, but he blazed well over as England held on for a long-overdue victory against the Swedes.