England 2-3 Denmark
Denmark took advantage of more experimentation from England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson to record a deserved win at Old Trafford.
The Danes came from behind twice as England's defensive frailties were exposed - and former Newcastle United striker Jon Dahl Tomasson's late winner was a deserved reward.
Everton teenager Wayne Rooney and Chelsea's Joe Cole gave England an early advantage, but Martin Jorgensen was twice on target as Denmark punished England's shaky rearguard.
And after the usual rash of Eriksson substitutions, Denmark took charge and Tomasson's goal gave them a measure of revenge for their World Cup defeat in Japan in 2002.
5 mins: Wayne Rooney puts England in front
8 mins: Martin Jorgensen equalises for Denmark
8 mins: Joe Cole instantly restores England's lead
30 mins: Jorgensen equalises again for Denmark from the penalty spot
82 mins: Jon Dahl Tomasson puts Denmark in front for the first time
England will take heart from outstanding performances by youngsters Rooney and Cole, but Eriksson has still failed to solve the long-standing problem of generosity in defence.
Rooney started up front alongside Emile Heskey - and set the tone for an explosive display with a stunning opener after five minutes.
He started the move and took advantage of a ricochet to lash a powerful finish high past Thomas Sorensen.
But England's defensive uncertainties returned to haunt them within three minutes as Jorgensen equalised for Denmark.
Thomas Helveg's cross from the right evaded everyone and Jorgensen took advantage of slack marking by Gary Neville to score from eight yards.
It was a lead that lasted only seconds, with Rooney cleverly setting up Cole for a composed left foot finish.
England were uncomfortable at the back and David James was forced into a desperate foul on Dennis Rommedahl when Matthew Upson was caught for pace.
James was fortunate to receive only a yellow card - and England were unsettled even further after 15 minutes when Gary Neville limped off with an ankle injury.
It was a wide open game, with chances at both ends before Denmark deservedly equalised on the half-hour.
Upson, having a poor game, was at fault when he followed up a careless defensive header with a reckless challenge on Jorgensen.
Beckham celebrates with Cole
It was a clear penalty and Jorgensen recovered to steer a fine spot-kick high past James.
Eriksson made four half-time substutions - but Rooney stayed on to electrify Old Trafford again after 54 minutes.
He unleashed a stunning volley which rattled back off an upright with Sorensen helpless.
Denmark, however, looked the more dangerous as the half progressed and twice Paul Robinson, on at the interval for James, saved well from Jesper Gronkjaer and Kenneth Perez.
England substitutes James Beattie and Danny Murphy almost combined to restore their lead after 80 minutes, but the Liverpool midfield man shot wide.
Denmark ensured England paid a heavy price a minute later when substitute Tomasson put them in front.
Robinson saved well from Peter Lovenkrands, but when the Leeds keeper fumbled a follow up from Jorgensen, Tomasson was on hand to score the winner.
England: James (Robinson 45), Gary Neville (Johnson 16), Terry, Upson, Ashley Cole (Bridge 45), Beckham (Jenas 65),
Butt (Phil Neville 45), Lampard, Joe Cole (Murphy 75),
Heskey (Beattie 45), Rooney (Parker 65). Subs Not Used: Mills, Walker.
Booked: James, Johnson.
Denmark: Sorensen, Helveg (Priske 45), Henriksen,
Nielsen (Gaardsoe 70), Niclas Jensen,
Gronkjaer (Lovenkrands 62), Wieghorst (Daniel Jensen 28),
Gravesen, Jorgensen (Madsen 84), Rommedahl (Perez 19),
Sand (Tomasson 45). Subs Not Used: Roll Larsen, Skov-Jensen.
Booked: Daniel Jensen.
Referee: V Hrinak (Slovakia).