Fabio Capello's World Cup dreams may rest on the fitness of Wayne Rooney but England's Women, so long reliant on Kelly Smith – the brilliant female equivalent of the Manchester United forward – showed the boys the road to victory with a solid team performance, edging out World Cup-qualifying rivals Spain.
The Lionesses had to finish top of their pool to stand a chance of flying to next summer's tournament, hosted by reigning world champions Germany.
Smith produced the first noteworthy effort – a first-time shot that arced inches wide of the left upright – thereafter she showed some neat touches but looked some way short of full fitness and was withdrawn on the hour. By then England were in charge after Katie Chapman's 29th-minute turn and volley from 12 yards gave coach Hope Powell's side the goal they deserved.
The visitors were limited to two half-chances, both of which fell to Adriana Martin, who was unfortunate not to win a penalty after goalkeeper Rachel Brown clattered into her.
A draw in the heat of the Spanish summer in mid-June could well be enough for England to advance to Germany. "At the moment we have got maximum points and they have dropped three, but we can't take anything for granted," Powell said. "We still have to maintain what we set out to do, and that is to top the group."
England (4-4-1-1): Brown; A Scott, Stoney, F White, Unitt; Clarke, Williams, Chapman, Yankey (S Smith, 84); K Smith (J Scott 59); Aluko (E White, 69). Substitutes not used: Bardsley, Susi, Bassett, Sanderson.
Spain (4-4-1-1): Tirapu; Torrenejon, Escribano, Garcia, Vesga; Boquete, Olabarrieta, Vilanova, (Meseguer, 80), Ibarra (Romero 73); Bermudez (Perez, 66); Martin. Substitutes not used: Pons, Nicolau, Lopez, Vazquez.
Referee: C Westrum (Norway).