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England break 1968 Sweden jinx

AFP/The Local · 16 Nov 2011, 08:11

Published: 16 Nov 2011 08:11 GMT+01:00

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Sweden defender Daniel Majstorovic diverted Gareth Barry's glancing header into his own net on 22 minutes to hand England their first victory over their fellow Euro 2012 qualifiers since 1968.

A match played in front of a 48,876 crowd - the lowest attendance ever

recorded since the rebuilt Wembley opened in 2007 - fell flat as Capello made

eight changes from the side which defeated world champions Spain on Saturday.

However Capello was satisfied with a victory which ensured his team had gone through 2011 unbeaten, and singled out youngsters Jack Rodwell and Kyle Walker - both making their first starts - and Phil Jones for praise.

"It's important to beat Sweden after 43 years," Capello said. "But for me it was really important to see (Phil) Jones, (Kyle) Walker, and (Jack) Rodwell play against a team with a really good organisation.

"The answer that I received from their performances was important. I thought these players played really well."

Sweden coach Erik Hamrén admitted his side had struggled to make an impression against the English defence.

"They are strong players and a strong team," he said. "They work hard for each other. It's difficult to create chances against them."

England had dug out a 1-0 win over Spain with a gritty defensive display and Capello had been looking for more evidence of his side's attacking nous against the Swedes. But although England largely dominated possession, the match petered out disappointingly in the second half.

England had controlled a one-sided first half and should have led by more than the solitary goal at the break.

The lively Theo Walcott emerged as England's most consistent attacking threat early on, and a series of one-twos with Bobby Zamora ended with the

Fulham striker - making his first start for England - hitting the side netting.

The opening goal - the 2,000th scored by England in internationals - duly arrived in the 22nd minute.

Stewart Downing and Leighton Baines worked an opening down the left flank

which enabled Downing to curl a teasing cross into the box which was glanced

on by Barry before Majstorovic diverted the ball into his own net.

Sweden's best attempts of the half came on 33 minutes, when a corner from Rasmus Elm that was curling in was punched to safety by England keeper Joe


From the ensuing set piece former Bolton striker Johan Elmander glanced a header into the side netting.

Everton youngster Rodwell then went close on 37 minutes with a volley that Sebastian Larsson deflected behind.

Story continues below…

England should have added to their lead shortly before half-time when Manchester United defender Jones, picked again in the midfield holding role was sent racing clear by a flick from Zamora.

The 19-year-old did everything right as he bore down on the advancing Swedish keeper Andreas Isaksson but his deft flick with the outside of his boot just rolled past the foot of the post.

Two minutes from half-time England wasted another golden chance, Rodwell grazing a post with a header from close range with the goal begging.

The chances continued to come for England immediately after the break, with Baines and Downing combining once again for Zamora whose low shot was blocked


Downing was next to threaten the visitors goal, surging forward from midfield and shooting low only for Isaksson to smother the danger.

That was as close as England got in the second half, and were relieved 12 minutes from time when a mishit cross by Larsson floated goalwards forcing Scott Carson, on for Hart, to parry clear.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:26 November 16, 2011 by Jes
Yeah ?

If Zlatan was there , the story would be different . He should be nominated for yet another Golden Award.
12:35 November 16, 2011 by Rick Methven
Zlatan was there in body but not in spirit. A very lacklustre performance by both sides
12:56 November 16, 2011 by ltch65
Pretty poor show by both sides to be honest , but the swedes looked even more lacklustre. The Swedish players had no passion about them...

England deserved the win as they had more opportunities (and wasted them), but it could have ended 1's a piece had Wilhelmson controlled the ball better and not blasted it over the net.

On that perfromance I cant imagine Sweden being that threatening in the Euros, whereas England (who usually squander most big tournaments....), might have a chance - unless their prima-donna'ish ways get the better of them (again / as usual...).

English Armchair pundit abroad.
13:06 November 16, 2011 by eppie
With 6 times the inhabitants of Sweden this should indeed have been a piece of cake for the English.
13:37 November 16, 2011 by London_Jim
And by that logic, China or India will be massive favourites to win the next World Cup....
13:58 November 16, 2011 by Husky

So USA, China, and India,

should be the top 3 world cup teams then as they have the most players to choose from according to the population standings ( if that's what your saying) you sound like a sore loser to me,, but don't worry you shall soon have a team full of Zlatan's. It's not about inhabitants its about football academies and scholarships and the input of money to train kids from a young age and the players sticking to training, and have motivation, and the desire to play football, how many Formula 1 drivers has Sweden, Sweden has some great race car drivers but no one willing to back them,,Google Autosport driver awards & Mclaren driver development programme.
14:05 November 16, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
"a 48,876 crowd - the lowest attendance ever

recorded since the rebuilt Wembley opened in 2007"

just about says it all really, about the calibre of the match. Still, England must feel more optimistic: within a few days they've defeated both the European & World champions - and then a side their senior team haven't beaten since 1968
15:22 November 16, 2011 by HenryPollard
Daniel Majstorovic is a calamitous bombscare of a defender.
16:05 November 16, 2011 by eppie
@husky and London_jim

Don't worry I am not swedish nor do I support the Swedish team. Just wanted to make a comment about the English team who are the biggest underperformers in the history of the game. It is great for them with the richest competition, the inventors of the game and football being by far the most popular sport in the country that they were able to beat sweden.

Oh and the US they are sadly for them focussing more on boring sports, sames goes for India. And China will be world champion in a few years. :)
20:33 November 18, 2011 by shraga
In a formal game England has no chance agaist the Sweds

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