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Daniel AGGER 7’


Att = 21,523

Darren BENT 10’

Ashley YOUNG 68’

International Friendly

Ref = Jonas ERIKSSON (SWE)

Parken Stadion – COPENHAGEN

ENGLAND won their first match of 2011 by two goals to one at the expense of Denmark in Copenhagen last Wednesday (9 February).

The match saw Arsenal’s midfielder Jack Wilshere make his first England start, while Chelsea’s Frank Lampard led the team out as captain for the very first time in place of regular skipper (Rio Ferdinand) and vice-captain (Steven Gerrard) who were both injured. This was Lampard’s 84th England cap, just three behind his Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole who is now England’s most capped full-back.

In an eventful opening few minutes Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner (Denmark) and Wayne Rooney (England) almost scored as a result of defensive errors. The first goal of the night followed not long afterwards. Christian Eriksen – the 18 year-old wonder kid of Danish football – provided a pin-point cross from a free kick onto the head of Liverpool defender Daniel Agger who gave England goalkeeper Joe Hart little chance of saving the header. It is strange seeing players from the club you support on the side you want to beat isn’t it?

But England hit back just three minutes later courtesy of Darren Bent being in the right place at the right time. Theo Walcott fended off the challenges from Simon Poulsen to fizz the ball across the six yard box and directly into the path of Bent who made no mistake with the finish. It then became apparent that Walcott had been cut just below his left eye by Poulsen. Replays showed the Dane was clawing at Walcott’s face, but fortunately a nasty injury was avoided. 

Bent (9) equalises for England. Walcott (background) has just realised he has been cut by S. Poulsen (red shirt centre).

Bent nearly scored a second for England ten minutes later.

With ten minutes of the half to go young Eriksen hit the post from around 20 yards out to keep England honest. Four minutes later England were thankful to Heart who saved a tight angle shot from Dennis Rommedahl with his feet. The last meaningful action of the first half was Lampard putting the ball in the back of the Danish net with a cheeky back flick. However the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.

The visitors came out the more aggressive side in the second half and Bent almost scored with a close range header but his effort was smothered by Denmark’s keeper Thomas Sørensen of Stoke City. Sørensen caught half-time substitute Ashley Young’s headed shot just a minute later to keep the score level.

Bent almost scored yet again on 56 minutes but his shot just skimmed the side netting. At this point I was beginning to wonder if these misses would come back to haunt England. My nerves jangled even more so when Hart made a low save from Rommedahl with just under 25 minutes to play.

But Ashley Young became the hero of the night when with just over 20 minutes to go, he latched onto a pass by Glen Jonson on the edge of the box and coolly slotted the ball past Sørensen at the near post to put England 2-1 up. This was Young’s first goal for England in his 12th match for the Three Lions.

The next 20 minutes passed by without much incident. Young had another shot on goal but it was blocked in the area. Denmark had the last attack of the match from a free-kick and the resulting corner but these came to no avail and England put to rest the ghost of their last trip to Denmark when we lost 1-4.

All in all this was a good game of football. England played well but I still get the impression that when it eventually comes to playing one of the higher ranked teams, we will still be lacking that vital edge.

England’s next match is a Euro 2012 qualifier away to Wales on 26 March. Then three days later England host Ghana in what will be the first ever match between the Three Lions and the Black Stars.

Some other friendly result from around the world

Spain 1 – 0 Colombia

Netherlands 3 – 1 Austria

Germany 1 – 1 Italy

France 1 – 0 Brazil – Brazil have not beaten France since 1981.

Argentina 2 – 1 Portugal (played in Switzerland)

Croatia 4 – 2 Czech Republic

Greece 1 – 0 Canada

Iran 1 – 0 Russia

Luxembourg 2 – 1 Slovakia 🙂

Malta GC 0 – 0 Switzerland 🙂

Poland 1 – 0 Norway

San Marino 0 – 1 Liechtenstein 😀

South Africa 2 – 0 Kenya

Turkey 0 – 0 South Korea

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