International friendly: England 1-0 Sweden

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Wembley
England's Gareth Barry (l) celebrates has he helps England take the lead against Sweden
Barry (left) celebrates after he helps England take the lead at Wembley

England recorded their first win against Sweden since 1968 to complete a satisfactory Wembley double-header for coach Fabio Capello after Saturday's victory against World Cup holders Spain.

Once again, the margin was narrow as England overcame the disappointing Swedes when Gareth Barry's first-half header was deflected in off Daniel Majstorovic for the country's 2,000th goal.

The Wembley attendance of 48,876 was the lowest for an England game since the stadium was rebuilt - and the relatively sparse crowd and subdued atmosphere may have contributed to the low-key nature of the affair.

John Terry, the subject of a police investigation amid allegations he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, returned as England captain after missing the win against Spain and received a mixed reception when his name was announced prior to kick-off.

But while the game was lacking real quality, Capello will have got the performances he wanted from Everton's Jack Rodwell and Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker as they made their first starts for England.

Capello named the pair as part of a group of young players firmly in contention for Euro 2012 - and they did their chances no harm with the manner in which they adapted to the international stage.

Liverpool's Stewart Downing also made an impact, creating the winning goal and posing a threat as England controlled the game without being able to add the luxury of a second goal.

The next stage of England's preparations will be a meeting with 2010 World Cup finalists Holland in the new year as Capello ponders growing competition for places at next summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

Capello only retained goalkeeper Joe Hart, Phil Jones and Theo Walcott from the team that beat Spain - and Walcott was instrumental in a move that almost gave England an early lead. He bustled into the area to help Bobby Zamora find space, but the Fulham striker's shot found the side-netting.

England did go ahead after 22 minutes as a result of one of the many dangerous deliveries from Downing. He crossed for Barry, whose header took the faintest of touches off Majstorovic and beat keeper Andreas Isaksson.

Everton youngster Rodwell once again impressed after his cameo as a substitute against Spain, twice having chances to make his mark with a goal. He saw his hooked volley from club colleague Leighton Baines' cross deflected just wide then struck an upright with a header from Downing's cross, a chance he should have converted.

In between those chances, Manchester United teenager Jones, used once more in midfield, was only inches away from adding a second when he surged through midfield only to roll the ball past the post with Isaksson beaten.

England replaced keeper Hart with Scott Carson at the interval while Zlatan Ibrahimovic once more failed to live up to his reputation as he was substituted for Ola Toivonen following a first-half performance bordering on invisible.

Rodwell was taking up good attacking positions and twice created danger early in the second half with a shot off target and a speculative effort from long distance that dipped just over.

This was his final contribution as he was part of a double substitution by Capello just before the hour when he and Walcott were replaced by James Milner and Daniel Sturridge - the Chelsea striker winning his first England cap.

Downing had been a lively figure and he troubled the Swedish defence again after 65 minutes with a driving run that concluded with a shot that was too close to Isaksson.

England's first moment of anxiety came with 12 minutes left when Sebastian Larsson's cross had Carson scrambling backwards to claw it away to safety.

As the game moved towards a tame conclusion and stoppage time, substitute Christian Wilhelmsson wasted Sweden's best chance when he side-footed over the bar from an angle.

It ensured England ended that 43-year wait to beat Sweden - and left Capello with more names to consider as he formulates his squad for Euro 2012.

England: Hart (Carson 46), Walker, Cahill, Terry, Baines, Rodwell (Milner 58), Jones, Barry, Walcott (Sturridge 58), Zamora (Bent 70), Downing.

Subs Not Used: Glen Johnson, Cole, Lescott, Parker, Lampard, Adam Johnson, Stockdale.

Goals: Majstorovic 22 og.

Sweden: Isaksson, Lustig (Wilhelmsson 54), Mellberg (Jonas Olsson 46), Majstorovic, Martin Olsson, Wernbloom, Kallstrom (Svensson 70), Larsson, Elmander, Elm (Bajrami 87), Ibrahimovic (Toivonen 46).

Subs Not Used: Wiland, Granqvist, Safari, Gerndt, Almeback, Holmen.

Booked: Elmander, Wernbloom.

Att: 48,876

Ref: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic).