The Liverpool striker leapt high to head home Adam Lallana's cross with eight minutes left of what was otherwise an uninspiring 1-0 win.
Billed as a grand audition for England's fringe players to prove to Roy Hodgson that they deserved a place on the plane to Brazil, this match proved something of an anti-climax as England lacked purpose and a cutting edge in the first half in particular. When Cesare Prandelli looks at the tape of the first 45 minutes of this encounter, the Italy coach will hardly be quaking in his boots ahead of their World Cup meeting on June 14.
After seeing a couple of chances saved by Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel, Sturridge's persistence was finally rewarded when he rose to secure the win, just as some supporters started heading for the exits. The relief inside Wembley was palpable.