Posted: 11/16/2011


        Wembley had its lowest crowd for an international match since the new version was opened, only 48,800. Sweden were not the most exciting of guests, and they proved to be quite a bore, but they had not been beaten in 12 matches home and away for 43 years by England.

      It's not easy to fill the stadium with 88,000 capacity on a school night with unattractive opponents. The F.A. didn't want such a match, but due to contractual obligations to broadcaster ITV, it was arranged after the England v Holland fixture was cancelled with only 24 hours notice due to security reasons with police concentrating on the London riots.

       After having suprised Holland to qualify for EURO 2012 next June the Swede's  lost away to old rivals Denmark a few days ago. Not that England are any super power, even though they defended for 90 minutes against World and European champions Spain on Saturday afternoon for a 1-0 win against the odds. England were in their usual white jersey and blue shorts, while the visitors wore 'retro' dark blue jerseys with a Peru style yellow sash and yellow shorts.

       I was in the new press box for the first time and it is class.  Pre-match shepherds pie, half time sausage rolls and chips and a nice hot cup of soup.  The press seats are well equiped with individual TV monitors and a superb view.  The match was televised from both side so that both English and Swedish viwers could see appropriate advertising boards. It was Mars bars, Vauxhall cars, Umbro jerseys, versus Stavdal, Bjornkladet, Ekesoo,Team Sports, Nilsfisk-Alto and a couple of HEJA SVERIGE signs for good luck.

       Fabio Capello gave a run to some of his young guns, the future for the THREE LIONS. Erik Hamren had a mixture too,  We had captain Zlatan Ibrahamivic up front. He wears a pony tail but runs like a cart horse!! He was their best forward, but still not good enough and replaced at half time. The gravy I poured on my meal moved faster !!!

      The rapid rise of Phil Jones of Manchester United and ex Blackburn Rovers is exciting. He may not be the new Duncan Edwards but has has no fear, gets himself forward and has a go.  Wing back Kyle Walker was voted Man of the Match, deservedly so, and I liked Jack Rodwell, such a talented and mature player.   I am not a fan of 30 year old Bobby Zamora, given another chance, and think England have better options. Captain John Terry did well to cheers and jeers from the fans. Joe Hart was replaced at the half by Scott Carson, who now plies his trade with Bursasor in Turkey.

     In the 21st minute GARETH BARRY seemed destined for the history books as England scored their 2,000th ever goal. It was not credited to him though as Celtic defender Daniel Majstorovic deflected it past his own goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson, who did not have a great evening. Phil Jones blasted wide and Rodwell hit the post and there were some near misses for the Swedes, but when the crowd start doing the Mexican Wave, you know that they are bored and unimpressed with what's happening on the pitch.

     Who scored the first? It was William Kenyon-Slaney in a 4-2 win over Scotland on March 8, 1873. The 1,000th goal was by Jimmy Greaves in a 5-1 win over Wales on November 23rd, 1960.

      I returned to Central London on the new, improved carriages on the Bakerloo Line. Wider, cleaner, more spacious... and the first new trains for 50 years on London Underground - and only a 15 minute limited stop journey. Using my Oyster Card its quick to get through the barriers and to save money.