England beats Sweden for first time in 43 years

BY foxsports • November 16, 2011

Even as the English broke a 43-year dry spell against Sweden, they set a new unwanted record.

Despite England's victory over world champion Spain just three days earlier, just 48,876 fans came to Wembley to watch the Three Lions beat Sweden 1-0 in an exhibition on Tuesday night.

Not since the new 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium opened in 2007 had so few watched the national team play in the home of English soccer.

What they missed was England's 2,000th international goal being scored. What they could not clearly see was whether England midfielder Gareth Barry or Swedish defender Daniel Majstorovic should have been credited with the landmark goal.

As Stewart Downing's cross was swung in from the left flank, Barry soared and got the decisive touch that headed the ball toward the goal, but the ball then skimmed off Majstorovic's head before crossing the line.

''I just got told it's going down as an own goal,'' Barry said. ''It would have been great to score the 2,000th goal and I'm a bit disappointed.''

While the identity of the goalscorer may be disputed, there was little doubt that England would finish a year unbeaten (6-0-3) for the first time since 1994. Capello continued to test youngsters ahead of next year's European Championship.

England made eight changes from the starting lineup against Spain.

''I learned a lot,'' Capello said. ''It was important to see some players against two difficult teams. I'm happy with the experiments, the results were positive.''

Singling out Phil Jones, Jack Rodwell and Kyle Walker for praise, Capello added: ''For the future, these players will be OK ... but we need to improve from it because when you've got the ball possession you need to move it a lot quicker.''

Although Swedish winger Christian Wilhelmsson volleyed over from close range late on, England's goalkeepers - Joe Hart in the first half and Scott Carson after the break - had no difficult saves to make.

''They're very physically strong, our biggest problem was with their crosses,'' Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom said. ''English teams are very good at that. Otherwise I think that as the game went on, we took control more and more.''

While the Swedes - like England - have qualified for Euro 2012, they lost 2-0 on Friday to Denmark.

''(We weren't) good enough in the final third, which is something we have to work on,'' Sebastian Larsson said.

European soccer's governing body announced on Tuesday that English forward Wayne Rooney Rooney's appeal against his three-match international ban will heard on Dec. 9. If the penalty isn't shortened, Rooney will missed the group stage of the Euros.

Playing his second successive game without Rooney, Capello assessed Zamora and, in the second half, Darren Bent and Daniel Sturridge.

''Without Rooney we changed the style, played three midfielders in a 4-3-3,'' Capello said. ''I'm happy because we won the two games.''


AP Sports Writer Mattias Karen contributed to this report.

share story