England 1 Sweden 0: Own-goal gives Capello’s side victory
A Daniel Majstorovic own-goal handed England a narrow victory over Sweden at Wembley
England picked up their first win against Sweden in 43 years after a comfortable performance in front of a record low crowd at Wembley.
The victory never looked in doubt after Daniel Majstorovic’s first-half own goal – and the winning margin could have been greater but for some desperate Swedish defending.
England were rarely troubled by the visitors as Fabio Capello’s side sealed their second single-goal victory in a row.
The first real chance came in the 17th minute for England. After patient build-up play, Theo Walcott played a sequence of one-twos with Bobby Zamora before the Fulham striker slid the ball into the side netting.
And just six minutes later Capello’s men took the lead.
Neat link-up play between Leighton Baines and Stewart Downing allowed the Liverpool winger to cross and Gareth Barry connected, nodding goalwards with a deflection off Majstorovic diverting the ball into the back of the net.
The goal was credited to the Swedish defender and marked the 2000th goal scored by England ““ an honour that is unlikely to feature high up on Majstorovic’s CV.
In the 33rd minute, Rasmus Elm’s corner nearly embarrassed England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who had to back-pedal and claw the ball away for another corner.
From the resulting set-piece, an unmarked Johan Elmander headed Elm’s delivery into the side netting.
It seemed that England’s midfield were taking turns to get forward and in the 40th minute, Phil Jones picked the pocket of Larsson and poked his shot agonisingly wide of the post.
Just before the break, another brilliant delivery from Downing found Rodwell – and he glanced a header on to the outside of the post.
Fulham frontman Zamora looked to score his first England goal after an industrious performance up front – and he nearly added a second for the home side in the 64th minute.
Baines’ pass found the impressive Downing and the Liverpool winger cut the ball back to Zamora, whose first-time effort was deflected out for a corner by West Brom defender Jonas Olsson.
On 78 minutes, Larsson ““ now playing in a right-back role ““ almost humiliated substitute stopper Scott Carson, launching an audacious lob after spotting the Bursaspor man off his line, but the keeper recovered to tip the ball away.
Moments later the Sunderland man played his part down the other end after getting a important header in to stop James Milner’s cross from finding the lurking Darren Bent.
The visitors did have a chance to level in stoppage time but Christian Wilhelmsson blazed over a volley from Emir Bajrami’s cross.
The attendance of 48,865 confirmed that the match would mark a record low attendance for the new Wembley and the first sub-50,000 crowd since a 1998 game against the Czech Republic.
England: Joe Hart (Scott Carson 46), Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Leighton Baines, Jack Rodwell (James Milner 58), Phil Jones, Gareth Barry, Theo Walcott (Daniel Sturridge 58), Bobby Zamora (Darren Bent 70), Stewart Downing
Sweden: Andreas Isaksson (Johan Wiland 46), Mikael Lustig (Christian Wilhelmsson 55), Olof Mellberg (Jonas Olsson 46), Daniel Majstorovic, Martin Olsson, Sebastian Larsson, Pontus Wernbloom, Kim Kallstrom (Anders Svensson 70), Rasmus Elm (Emir Bajrami 87), Johan Elmander, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Ola Toivonen 46)