England 1 - 0 Sweden: English edge low-key friendly clash

JOHN Terry insists he never considered stepping down as England captain after leading them in last night’s 1-0 friendly victory at home to Sweden.

An own goal from Daniel Majstorovic was enough to secure Terry’s side the victory in front of 48,865 spectators, the lowest for an international at the new Wembley. The Celtic defender headed past his goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson – England’s 2,000th goal – when under pressure from Gareth Barry.

Terry, who received a mixed reception from the crowd when his name was announced prior to kick-off, said he never thought of relinquishing the armband after being accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road last month – allegations he denies. “I would never step down,” he said. “It is something I dreamed of as a boy. I worked very hard to get here. I’m very passionate, very confident being England captain and very proud to be, also.

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“It’s a great achievement, walking the side out, and I’m very proud to do that. If we can keep that momentum for the next six months then hopefully things will be a lot better.”

England manager Fabio Capello was pleased with his side’s performances against Spain on Saturday and then Sweden without Wayne Rooney, who is suspended for the three Euro 2012 group games in Poland and Ukraine next summer, subject to an appeal.

“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. For the future, these players will be okay.

“Without Rooney we changed the style, played three midfielders in a 4-3-3. I’m happy because we won the two games and this evening we created a lot of chances. I know Rooney is a really fantastic, important player, but the team spirit is important. I saw in these two games really good spirit.”

England starts were handed to Bobby Zamora, Jack Rodwell and Kyle Walker as Capello made eight changes from the side which overcame Spain 1-0 on Saturday. Joe Hart, Phil Jones and Theo Walcott were the only survivors from the starting line-up.

England made a positive start and Walcott and Walker combined down the right but the cross from the latter was headed clear by Mikael Lustig.

Sweden threatened for the first time when Kim Kallstrom’s reverse pass picked out Lustig but Stewart Downing tracked back to cut out the danger.

Sweden were down to ten men while Wernbloom needed treatment and during that period England took a 23rd-minute lead. Downing supplied the cross from the left and Barry’s glancing header was going wide until it hit the head of Majstorovic and flew past Isaksson. Soon after Rodwell should have made it 2-0 but he headed against the outside of the post from another Downing cross.

England made a half-time switch with Scott Carson replacing Joe Hart in goal for his first international appearance at Wembley since his costly error against Croatia in a Euro 2008 qualifier. England were quickly back on the offensive and Fulham striker Zamora nodded a deep Downing cross back into the path of Rodwell, whose volley was deflected wide.

The substitutions continued to come thick and fast with Lustig making way for Christian Wilhelmsson. Capello handed a debut to Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, with Walcott making way, and at the same juncture took off Rodwell and brought on James Milner.

Darren Bent replaced Zamora before Carson was almost caught out by a cross-shot from Larsson and had to fingertip the ball away at full stretch.

Substitute Ola Toivonen miskicked when on the edge of the England box and Larsson had a free-kick deflected wide.

Cahill blocked substitute Anders Svensson’s shot and Wilhelmsson volleyed over as England held on for the win.

England: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Terry, Baines, Rodwell, Jones, Barry, Walcott, Zamora, Downing. Subs: Carson, Glen Johnson, Cole, Lescott, Parker, Lampard, Milner, Adam Johnson, Sturridge, Bent, Stockdale.

Sweden: Martin Olsson, Wernbloom, Kallstrom, Larsson, Elmander, Elm, Ibrahimovic. Subs: Wiland, Bajrami, Svensson, Granqvist, Safari, Gerndt, Almeback, Holmen, Jonas Olsson, Toivonen, Wilhelmsson.