England youngsters star as Fabio Capello’s Three Lions ease to victory over Swedes
England 1-0 Sweden
England end 2011 unbeaten as they come away 1-0 winners in an almost routine win against Sweden at Wembley.
A Gareth Barry header proved to be the difference and became England’s 2000th goal, however the deflection off central defender Daniel Majstorovic may mean the landmark may go down as an own goal.
It is the first time the Three Lions have triumphed over the Scandinavian country since 1968, although on this performance the home side wouldn’t have left happy had they not recorded victory here.
Whilst their weekend victory over World Champions Spain may have been a defensive test, this one was an array of attacking talent, with Stewart Downing looking particularly threatening throughout.
Theo Walcott, one of just three players who kept their place from Saturday’s game, looked lively in the first half, and combined well with Bobby Zamora on 16 minutes, only for the Fulham forward to prod wide.
Even though, just past the 20 minute mark, England scored the only goal of the game. Stewart Downing found himself on the left, and his cross was met by Barry, whose glancing header, via Majstorovic, found its way inside the far post.
Whilst the previous tournament talked about England’s ‘golden generation’, the European Championships look to be all about youth.
Young Evertonian Jack Rodwell flashed a volley wide after great work from club-mate Leighton Baines, whilst Rodwell was also unlucky to see a header clip the post after great team work from a side which looked very different from the weekend.
Manchester United prospect Phil Jones remained in midfield though, and looked far more comfortable, distributing the ball well and helping the defence when needed. Jones was unfortunate to shoot wide after great battling abilities allowed him a free run at goal.
Whilst the scoreline looks bleak, and the call for Wayne Rooney to lead the line will undoubtedly will be heard, Zamora provided a good option in attack.
The Fulham striker linked play well, and was unlucky not to finish two second half chances provided by that man Downing yet again. Zamora returned the favour later on, giving Downing an effort from range, whilst also providing Rodwell with another opportunity.
Downing and Darren Bent both had late opportunities as they game fizzed out to a home win. That was despite Christian Wilhelmsson volleying over in added time in what was his country’s best chance all game.
In spite of how much as England dominated this game, it may be the lack of goals that will worry England coach Fabio Capello. He will be happy with the performances of Walker, Downing and Rodwell, as well as another clean sheet. But the answer to the England-without-Wayne-Rooney issue may still be an unsolved mystery.