Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

England Landmark; 2,000th Goal Makes It an Unbeaten Year International Football

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

England Landmark; 2,000th Goal Makes It an Unbeaten Year International Football

Article excerpt

ENGLAND completed an unbeaten 2011 in satisfactory style by ending their long 43-year wait for a victory over Sweden.

A deflected first-half Gareth Barry header proved enough to secure the win, in addition to becoming England's landmark 2,000th goal.

It was the first time the Three Lions have gone through an entire year without losing since 1994.

However, Fabio Capello will be wary about reading too much into the triumph given how much club combat his players must slog their way through before then.

The pity was only 48,876 - the first sub-50,000 crowd at Wembley since 1998 - were there to see starring performances from Teessider Stewart Downing, Phil Jones, and official man-of-the-match Kyle Walker.

Of all the players who could have been credited with the winner, Celtic defender Daniel Majstorovic was an unlikely candidate.

Yet, as 'own goals' would be fourth on the all-time list, maybe it was actually quite fitting the Sweden defender turned Downing's curling cross into his own net after leaping with Barry. It took the OG tally to 43 and provided some reward for some opening flashes of promise.

Jones impressed in a makeshift midfield role and had more room to flourish against Sweden than he did against Spain.

Sweden are not in that class, which meant Jones had some latitude to get forward, which he did five minutes before the break.

Collecting Bobby Zamora's lay-off, the 19-year-old Manchester United defender carved a route through the heart of Sweden's defence before flicking just wide of the post.

Downing engineered another good opening, picking out Everton's Jack Rodwell with a superb cross that was headed against the post.

On his first England outing since racism allegations, John Terry's name prompted a mixed reaction but after a sluggish start he did well to shackle Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was taken off at half-time. …

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