A FRANK Lampard penalty and a well-taken goal from in-form Jermain Defoe gave England a laboured 2-1 friendly win over Slovenia on Saturday in a warm-up for the home team's midweek World Cup qualifier against Croatia.
Slovenia, who replied with a header by substitute Zlatan Ljubijankic five minutes from time, face Poland in an important qualifier on Wednesday.
England took the lead when Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson appeared to totally misjudge a mild clash between Bostjan Cesar and Rooney after 31 minutes.
If anything, Rooney fouled Cesar, who lent across the striker with his arm out-stretched but made no contact. Rooney tripped over him and fell and did not appeal for the penalty.
To compound what appeared to be an error, Cesar was booked and then limped off injured and could miss Wednesday's Group Three game against the Poles.
Slovenia though, could have been ahead by that stage as they started brighter, looked well organised at the back and played some attractive quick-passing football on the break.
England eventually took control after Rooney's goal and twice went close when John Terry sent a header against the bar from a Steven Gerrard corner and Rooney hit a post from two metres out after another set-piece.
They deserved to double their lead after 63 minutes when Aaron Lennon, who replaced the largely ineffective Shaun Wright-Phillips at half time, found Defoe with a neat pass for the striker to score with a sharp shot from the edge of the box.
Defoe has scored seven goals for club and country in a superb start to the season. - Reuters