Wembley, England, Nov 16: England's 2,000th goal ended a 43-year wait for a victory over Sweden on Tuesday and ensured Fabio Capello's side ended 2011 unbeaten.
Gareth Barry was initially credited with scoring England's landmark goal to secure the 1-0 victory, but replays showed the 22nd-minute header from Stewart Downing's cross skimmed off Sweden defender Daniel Majstorovic's head before crossing the line.
“I just got told it's going down as an own goal,” Barry said after the friendly. “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, England ending the year unbeaten for the first time since 1994 was rarely in doubt on a comfortable night when Capello continued to test youngsters ahead of next year's European Championship.
England was able to emulate its victory three days earlier against Spain by making eight changes from the side that beat the world champions.
“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 OK.”
Bobby Zamora and Jack Rodwell on their first England starts missed chances to extend the lead, but the hosts easily protected their first over Sweden since 1968.
Although Sweden 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 serious saves to make.
“They're very physically strong, our biggest problem was with their crosses,” Sweden 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.
“The only thing missing for us was a goal, even though they also had a couple of good chances they missed.”
Early linkup between Theo Walcott and Zamora showed the ease that England could get through the Swedish defense, although Zamora could only hit the sidenetting at the end of the flowing 17th-minute move.
Phil Jones—one of the youngsters to impress Capello—easily stole the ball off Kallstrom on the halfway line—and rampaged forward but the defender-turned midfield anchor missed the target.
Rodwell, whose earlier shot had deflected off Sebastian Larsson, also headed wide from close range just before halftime when he had an open net.
After the break, Zamora struck wide with a shot that lacked power and Downing shot straight at goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.
“We created a lot of chances to score,” Capello said. “Some of the players played really well—Phil Jones, Jack Rodwell ... but we need to improve from it because when you've got the ball possession you need to move it a lot quicker.”
While the Swedes—like England—have qualified for Euro 2012, they also lost 2-0 on Friday to Denmark.
“It's not what we wanted to do, but luckily they were just friendly games,” Sweden winger Larsson said. “Today was definitely a better game for us, I felt we should have had something from the game.
“Especially in the second half, we had plenty of opportunities to create something, just wasn't good enough in the final third, which is something we have to work on.”
UEFA announced on Tuesday that England striker Wayne Rooney Rooney's appeal against his three-match international ban will heard on Dec. 9.
And this was England's second successive game without Rooney, with Capello assessing Zamora and, in the second half, Darren Bent and Daniel Sturridge, as he prepares to be without his star player for the Euro 2012 group stage.
“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 and this evening we created a lot of chances.
“I know Rooney is a really fantastic, important player, but the team spirit is important.”
The attendance at the 90,000-capacity Wembley was just 48,876, the lowest for an England game since the rebuilt stadium opened in 2007.
England: Joe Hart (Scott Carson, 46), Kyle Walker, Leighton Baines, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Theo Walcott (Daniel Sturridge, 58), Jack Rodwell (James Milner, 58), Bobby Zamora (Darren Bent, 70), Gareth Barry, Stewart Downing.
Sweden: Andreas Isaksson, Mikael Lustig (Christian Wilhelmsson, 55), Olof Mellberg (Jonas Olsson, 46), Daniel Majstorovic, Martin Olsson, Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom (Anders Svensson, 70), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Ola Toivonen, 46), Johan Elmander, Pontus Wernbloom, Rasmus Elm (Emir Bajrami, 87).