Match report and highlights: England 1-0 Denmark

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge's late header earned England a hard-fought victory in a match against Denmark which leaves more questions than answers ahead of the World Cup.

Few made the most of what was the last chance to make an impact on the international stage before the 23-man squad for Brazil is announced, although Roy Hodgson appears to have a pleasant headache at left-back after fine displays by Ashley Cole and 18-year-old debutant Luke Shaw.

England were untroubled defensively for the most part at Wembley but looked set to fail to net for a third successive match until Sturridge steered home a fine cross from substitute Adam Lallana in the closing stages.

Ashley Cole started for England, despite losing his place for Chelsea Credit: PA

Unlike the hosts, Morten Olsen's side do not have a World Cup campaign to prepare for and were second-best in the opening exchanges.

Wayward passing was preventing England from creating clear-cut opportunities and it meant the only moment of note early on was a worrying moment involving Jack Wilshere.

The Arsenal midfielder frantically waved his arms in pain after his foot was caught by Agger in a robust challenge, although he returned to the field after several minutes' treatment.

England looked a brighter attacking threat after that break and, shortly after Michael Krohn-Dehli blazed wide at the other end, Steven Gerrard was hauled down just outside the box.

Casper Sloth was booked for taking down the England captain and would likely have been sent off had it not been a friendly, with Wayne Rooney mishitting the resulting free-kick from 20 yards.

The Manchester United forward again missed the target when striking wide off-balance after rounding Kasper Schmeichel, before Gary Cahill fired over as the Three Lions enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy.

Cole was proving a handful down the left on his first match since Chelsea's FA Cup win against Stoke on January 26 but was having to do little defending, with Joe Hart sweeping up to prevent Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner reaching a hopeful ball forward.

Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge switched flanks as the match passed the half-hour mark, with the latter coming close when wriggling free to send a venomous cross-shot just wide of the far post.

Rooney had two poor efforts from edge of box as England continued their search for an opener, which would have come at the other end were it not for Cahill denying Jakob Poulsen and Cole clearing the lines as Bendtner lurked.

It was the home side dominating play, though, and Sterling was agonisingly close to netting just before the break, only to somehow miss Cole's low cross under pressure from Peter Ankersen.

England came close again in stoppage-time, with Sturridge the man frustrated by a wonderful point-blank save by Schmeichel - one akin of father Peter.

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel stood out against England Credit: PA

s expected, the second half began with Cole being replaced at left-back by teenager Shaw, who looked assured with his first few touches as a senior international.

The Southampton defender may not turn 19 until the day before the World Cup final but quickly showed maturity beyond his years, seamlessly slotting into the England defence and providing an attacking outlet down the left.

Overall, though, England were struggling to find a way past Denmark's defence, which was perhaps why Hodgson brought Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck on for Wilshere and Rooney, who moments earlier saw a free-kick blocked and Gerrard's follow-up deflected wide.

Those quickfire efforts and a blocked Jordan Henderson attempt were all England had to show for the first 15 minutes of the half, although substitute Lallana quickly went about trying to liven things up with a fine turn and cross in the box.

Denmark were being penned back in their own half as the home side pressed yet came close to taking a 65th-minute lead when Morten Rasmussen, on for Bendtner two minutes earlier, was put through somewhat fortuitously, only for Hart to spread himself well and save.

It was an impressive stop from the England goalkeeper, but it was counterpart Schmeichel shining brightest between the sticks.

The Leicester man had to be at his best as the hosts upped the ante, beating away a venomous Welbeck strike before denying the Manchester United attacker again from close range after he was put through by Henderson.

Lallana saw a dangerous left-wing cross put behind his own goal by Jesper Juelsgard, before Schmeichel impressively tipped over a stinging Sturridge strike.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first England appearance since August as the match entered the closing stages, when England finally netted the goal that looked like it may prove beyond them.

Collecting a short corner, Lallana cut past his man on the left and floated a delicate ball to the back post, where Sturridge powerfully headed across Schmeichel.

There was certainly an air of relief around Wembley after the 82nd-minute goal, although Danny Olsen's audacious strike and a stoppage-time free-kick meant there were a few anxious moments before the final whistle.