(CNN) -- England battled to a morale-boosting 1-0 win over world champions Spain at Wembley Saturday with their stand-in captain Frank Lampard scoring the only goal early in the second half.
The home side were lacking regular captain John Terry and star striker Wayne Rooney, but were rewarded for a dogged display against a Spain side who had the bulk of possession but created few chances.
Lampard took his in the 49th minute and can rarely have scored a simpler goal as he headed home into a gaping net after Darren Bent's header from a James Milner free-kick hit the post and rebounded invitingly for him.
Spain, who had not lost to England for 10 years, continued to force the home side back, with Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker outstanding in a rearguard action, being named man of the match.
Fabio Capello's experimental central defensive partnership of Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka also held firm throughout, but Spain still might have equalized.
David Villa's volleyed shot hit the post with England goalkeeper Joe Hart beaten and substitute Cesc Fabregas sent a late effort wide from an excellent scoring position.
The final whistle came as a relief to the capacity crowd of just over 87,189 and Lampard, who was substituted by Gareth Barry after his goal, said his team would not be getting carried away with their victory in the friendly.
"For everyone it is a lift, but we have to be realistic. We know they dominated the game for long periods," the Chelsea star told ITV Sport.
"The back four and Scott (Parker) were fantastic," he said.
"They are without doubt the best team in the world. It gives us something to build on but we know we have to improve."
Lampard's Chelsea teammate Terry, under investigation by the English FA for an alleged racist comment in a match against Queens Park Rangers, is expected to return for Tuesday's match against Sweden.
But Rooney, who is appealing against a three-match Euro 2012 ban, has been left out of the squad as Capello experiments for next year's finals.
In other international friendly action Saturday, Wales continued their fine recent form with a 4-1 home win over Norway in Cardiff.
Tottenham's Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy of Liverpool scored to put Gary Speed's men 2-0 ahead and two late Sam Vokes' goals made the game safe after Erik Huseklepp had pulled one back for the visitors.
Mexico beat Serbia 2-0 with Manchester United's Javier Hernandez scoring the second to make the game safe for the home side.