Section: England

Football: Italy 1-1 England

Andros Townsend’s spectacular strike gave an experimental England line-up a creditable draw against Italy in Turin.

Southampton striker Graziano Pelle’s first-half header looked to have put Italy on course for victory in this friendly as England struggled to get to grips with the changes made by manager Roy Hodgson after Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier win against Lithuania.

England, however, were lifted by the introduction of several substitutes and Townsend capped a second-half display that merited a draw. The Tottenham winger’s rising 20-yard drive 11 minutes from time gave Italy’s veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon no chance.

Hodgson’s side then ended the game on top and only a fine save from Buffon stopped England captain Wayne Rooney – who had earlier hit the bar – from adding to his total of 47 goals for his country and closing even further on Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record of 49.

The experiment of using Phil Jones in midfield failed dismally and he reverted to defence when Chris Smalling went off ill just before half-time. Similarly, it was a wasted night for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, misused in a forward role rather than on the wing.

There were pluses too, however, with an excellent cameo from Everton’s Ross Barkley and a composed performance from Michael Carrick when he replaced Smalling.

Read more at BBC Sport

Euro 2016 Qualifier: England 4-0 Lithuania

Harry Kane scored 79 seconds into his England debut and Wayne Rooney moved a step closer to Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goal scoring record in a routine Euro 2016 dismissal of Lithuania at Wembley.

Kane – with 29 goals for Tottenham this season – emerged as a substitute after 70 minutes with England already on the way to a fifth win from five qualifiers with goals from Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling.

The stage was set for the 21-year-old but even the man with the Midas touch in front of goal this season would have struggled to believe he would score with his third touch as a full England international, heading in Sterling’s cross at the far post.

It was the final flourish on an England win that was little more than a formality in a group that surely provides the safest of passages to France next summer.

Read more at BBC Sport

Football: Harry Kane gets first England call but Young misses out

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has received his first call-up to the England squad ahead of this month’s games against Lithuania and Italy.

Kane, who has scored 16 goals in the Premier League this season, is joined in the squad by Spurs teammates Andros Townsend and Kyle Walker but there is no place for left-back Danny Rose or midfielder Ryan Mason.

Asked if he was excited by the emergence of Kane, Hodgson told a news conference: “Yes, I think the whole country is really.

“His rise has been fantastic since he broke into the Tottenham team. We’re delighted to welcome him into the fold and try to help him to establish himself.

“What he can do on a football field is clear for all to see because he’s been doing it week in and week out for Tottenham and he deserves his chance.”

England face Lithuania in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday March 27 before heading to Turin to take on Italy in a friendly on Tuesday March 31.

Kane, 21, is part of attacking quartet for those games along with captain Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck, with QPR striker Charlie Austin and Burnley’s Danny Ings failing to make the cut.

Liverpool striker Sturridge has been building up his fitness after a lengthy absence but Hodgson said: “His form’s getting better and better. In the last game, against Swansea, there were very good signs his sharpness was coming back.”

Manchester United’s Ashley Young misses out despite his recent good form, but Michael Carrick is included in a midfield selection that also features Everton’s Ross Barkley.

England face Lithuania in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday March 27 before heading to Turin to take on Italy in a friendly on Tuesday March 31.

England sit six points clear at the top of Euro 2016 qualification Group E, having won all four of their matches to date.

England squad:

Goalkeepers:  Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City)

Defenders:  Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders:  Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Theo Walcott (Arsenal)

Forwards:  Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
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Women’s Football: England 0-3 Germany

England were roundly beaten by two-time World Cup winners Germany in a historic women’s match at Wembley.

An England record crowd of 45,619 watched the national team’s first standalone game at the home of English football.

But the hosts were given a lesson by the reigning European champions, who England have never beaten in 20 attempts.

Germany – well organised, efficient passers of the ball and clinical finishers – sealed the victory before half-time, striker Celia Sasic scoring two after an own goal by England defender Alex Scott had sent them on their way.

The friendly was organised as a test ahead of next year’s Fifa Women’s World Cup to gauge where England were against one of the best teams in the world.

And, on this evidence, there will need to be a lot of improvements if Mark Sampson’s side are to advance beyond the quarter-finals, which is the furthest they have reached on three previous occasions.

Birmingham striker Karen Carney celebrated her 100th cap for England and there was a frenetic opening with the home side dispossessing Germany from the kick-off, leading to Jordan Nobbs rattling the crossbar after eight seconds.

But, within six minutes, Germany were ahead, the ball coming off Scott at an acute angle and into the net after pressure from Simone Laudehr, who was initially credited with the goal

They doubled their lead four minutes later after an England mix-up on the halfway line which let in Frankfurt striker Sasic. After a solo run she finished coolly for her 55th international goal.

England had a period of pressure during the closing stages of the first half with goalkeeper Almuth Schult, a Champions League winner with Wolfsburg, holding onto a half-volley from England’s most capped player Fara Williams.

But they were ripped apart again just before half-time when Sasic scored a simple header from Tabea Kemme’s cross.

England played better in the second half but they rarely troubled Schult, their best chance coming in injury time when substitute Jill Scott fired into the side netting.

England are setting up another home friendly – against world number-one ranked team the United States – before the World Cup in Canada begins in June.

Read more at BBC Sport

International Friendly: Scotland 1-3 England

Wayne Rooney silenced the ferocious home supporters inside Celtic Park as England eased to victory over Scotland in the Battle of Britain.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain converted a superb deep cross from Jack Wilshere in the first half and Rooney scored his 45th England goal after the break to double the lead.

Andrew Robertson pulled one back for Scotland in the dying minutes, but they could not add a second and Rooney found the net to seal the 3-1 victory over England’s bitter neighbours and rivals.

England’s fans, vocal enough themselves, revelled in the victory, but they tainted their reputation by singing foul-mouthed provocative anti-IRA songs.

The Football Association will be forced to act, particularly when England are due to play in Dublin next June.

The main focus here should not be on the songs, though.

England deserve huge praise for the way they coped with the intimidating white-hot atmosphere in east Glasgow.

This was a real test for Roy Hodgson’s young squad and they passed it with flying colours.

Read more at ESPN

Euro 2016 Qualifying: Engalnd 3-1 Slovenia

Wayne Rooney helped England survive a scare against Slovenia on his 100th international appearance as they came from behind to make it four wins from four in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Rooney was presented with a golden cap by England and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton before kick-off in honour of his landmark but underdogs Slovenia threatened to spoil the celebrations when Jordan Henderson’s own goal gave them the lead just before the hour.

England’s captain quickly restored order with his 44th goal for his country from the penalty spot, putting him joint-third with Jimmy Greaves in the all-time standings and moving him to within five of Charlton’s record.

With Slovenia’s resistance finally broken, Danny Welbeck struck twice to bring his tally to an impressive five goals in qualifying.

The Wembley surface was the subject of much debate after areas were churned up in the NFL game between Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys last Sunday.

Conditions were not perfect, but this was no excuse for a dire first-half display from England.

The eventful second half was a far cry from a dreadful opening 45 minutes, which was devoid of action and flouted its billing as entertainment in front of a crowd of more than 82,000.

England’s supporters gave 29-year-old Rooney a warm ovation as he was presented with his cap accompanied by his sons Kai and Klay – but it was all downhill in the first half.

Manager Roy Hodgson will be delighted his side raised their game after the break, stung into action by Slovenia’s goal, the first they have conceded so far in the qualifiers.

Rooney laid the foundations before Welbeck once more proved his importance as he followed his two goals against Switzerland and one against San Marino with another double here.

Once again England collected three points without truly impressing, the trend emerging from Group E, which they will surely move through untroubled to France in 2016.

And Hodgson, with another competitive victory secured, can now perhaps experiment in Tuesday’s friendly against Scotland at Celtic Park.

The first half was instantly forgettable, and a smattering of jeers greeted the half-time whistle.

England began the second with more attacking intent – they could hardly have had less – but were stunned when Slovenia took the lead after 57 minutes as Henderson glanced a perfect header high beyond Hart from Milivoje Novakovic’s free-kick.

The hosts needed a quick response and Rooney helped them deliver it, first winning the penalty when he was clearly tripped by Bostjan Cesar then dispatching it powerfully past Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, who got a touch but could not keep the ball out.

In those few minutes the momentum swung in England’s favour, and they were soon ahead when Welbeck’s scuffed finish beat Handanovic after the goalkeeper had turned away Adam Lallana’s deflected cross.

And to emphasise the point, Welbeck underlined his growing stature as a striker – and his importance to Hodgson – with the third, playing a neat interchange with Raheem Sterling before steering in a composed angled finish.

Read more at BBC Sport

Euro 2016 Qualifying: Estonia 0-1 England

England laboured to victory over Estonia in Tallinn as Wayne Rooney’s late free-kick made it three wins out of three in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Rooney curled his shot in from just outside the area 17 minutes from the end of a mediocre encounter to give England’s captain his 43rd goal for his country – six behind all-time record holder Sir Bobby Charlton.

It rescued England as they struggled to break down the stubborn Estonians, who stood firm even after captain Ragnar Klavan had been sent off for a second yellow card three minutes into the second half.

And it spared manager Roy Hodgson some awkward questions over the omission of Raheem Sterling after Liverpool’s teenager admitted he was tired following the 5-0 win against San Marino at Wembley.

England monopolised possession but the lack of end product was alarming against opponents who were dogged but hardly an upgrade into the European elite after the stroll against San Marino on Thursday.

Rooney’s winner, a rare touch of class, also lifted his own performance after the 28-year-old struggled to apply his usual high standards. Indeed he was in danger of being replaced by Rickie Lambert just before his decisive contribution.

The Manchester United captain had opportunities before and after his goal to move closer to history but his display was in keeping with England’s night – largely frustrating and salvaged only by a single moment.

Hodgson used the diamond formation, as he had in the opening 2-0 win against Switzerland in Basel, but whereas there – with Sterling at its point – it looked effective, here it left England lacking in pace, creation and width. It was only when Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the Liverpool youngster were introduced that England looked like getting behind the hosts.

They can justifiably point to a job done, and nine points out of nine, but this largely uninspired fare did little to warm fans who turned out in plummeting temperatures in Tallinn.

There should be few obstacles in England’s way on the route to Euro 2016  – the possibility of 10 wins remains a strong one – but it is to be hoped the level of excitement is greater than that witnessed here in a group not exactly sprinkled with stardust.

After a minor scare in the opening seconds, England dominated the first period to such an extent that one point they enjoyed an 82% share of possession – the more telling statistic was that they did not muster a shot on target until the dying moments of the half.

This had much to do with Rooney’s failure to accept chances, volleying over from Jack Wilshere’s pass and showing an uncharacteristic lack of control and sharpness in the area when given other opportunities.

The visitors were looking for any advantage they could get and one arrived three minutes into the second half when Klavan departed after a cynical barge on Fabian Delph.

Hodgson made two changes in quick succession just after the hour as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sterling replaced Delph and Jordan Henderson.

And Sterling was involved as England finally broke Estonia down after 73 minutes. He was fouled on the angle of the penalty area and Rooney weighed his options up carefully before curling in a low, right-foot effort from the set-piece.

Read more on BBC Sport

Euro 2016 Qualifying: Engalnd 5-0 San Marino

England completed a routine 5-0 win over San Marino in Euro 2016 qualifying at Wembley.

Roy Hodgson’s side led at half-time courtesy of goals from Phil Jagielka and Wayne Rooney, the latter from the penalty spot, before Danny Welbeck, substitute Andros Townsend and an Alex Della Valle own goal gave the scoreline a truer reflection.

England remain on top of Group E on goal difference ahead of Lithuania, who overcame Estonia 1-0 at home in Vilnius on Thursday evening.

The national side’s next match is a trip to face Estonia on Sunday night, but there appears little in this section for England to fear as they look to validate their qualification for the finals in France.

England should really have had six goals against the world’s lowest ranked country, but substitute Adam Lallana had a goal disallowed for offside when he was clearly onside.

After a 2-0 win over Switzerland in their opening match, England have six points from their first two games.

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Euro 2016 Qualifying: Switzerland 0-2 England

Welbeck double gives England victory in Basel

Danny Welbeck scored his first international goals for more than a year as Roy Hodgson’s England began their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with a morale-boosting win in Switzerland.

England manager Hodgson, who came in for criticism following last week’s uninspiring win over Norway, handed Welbeck the central striker’s role he craves and he responded by scoring both goals in this impressive 2-0 victory in Basle.

The 23-year-old showed why Arsenal paid ‚£16million for his signature as he turned home a Raheem Sterling cross on a lightning counter-attack that also involved captain Wayne Rooney.

And the former Manchester United man rounded off the win in injury time with a well-taken finish.

Hodgson turned the air blue following criticism of his team at Wembley last Wednesday, but tonight he will have nothing but kind words to say about his team after they put in a much-improved display.

Without 15 injured seniors, Hodgson’s young starting XI had just 282 caps among them whereas Switzerland’s team had played 481 times in total for their country.

That, and the fact that Switzerland were ranked 11 places above England, made the hosts the pre-match favourites but Hodgson’s men were the best team going forward by some distance.

The attacking triumvirate of Welbeck, Sterling and Rooney created many chances, but their finishing let them down until Welbeck poked home his first England goal since September 6, 2013.

Fabian Delph, making his full debut, also put in a strong display in the middle of the park.

The defensive vulnerabilities that cost England in Brazil were still evident – Phil Jones almost gifted the Swiss the lead in the first half.

But Hodgson will return to England with a broad smile on his face after beating his biggest rivals in Group E.

Delph showed no sign of nerves as he started confidently. The Aston Villa midfielder pinched the ball off Stephan Lichtsteiner and crossed for Sterling, but his control was poor and Switzerland were let off.

Delph’s enthusiasm descended into recklessness moments later though when he cut Valon Behrami down with a late tackle that was somehow left unpunished.

The former Leeds man was no so lucky with his second bad tackle on Lichtsteiner which earned him a booking.

It did not take long for Hodgson to come to the edge of his technical area, but there was no need for him to be alarmed early on – his team were putting on a much more confident, high-tempo display than the one that lead to so much doom and gloom last week.

Jack Wilshere chipped a delightful 30-yard ball to Rooney, but the captain’s control was desperately poor and the attack faded out.

An error by Steve von Bergen allowed Sterling to race at the defence but Rooney’s shot dribbled straight into the arms of Yann Sommer.

With Xherdan Shaqiri in their side, Switzerland always looked capable of hitting England on the break though.

Haris Seferovic latched on to a clever pass from the Bayern Munich midfielder, but the referee waved play on when the striker went down under pressure from Jones.

Jones carelessly gave the ball away and Shaqiri took advantage, carving a lovely pass through to Seferovic again, but this time Joe Hart saved with his right leg.

England had a brilliant chance of their own just before the half-hour when Welbeck broke down the right. England were three on one, but the Arsenal striker’s pass to Sterling was poor and Switzerland rushed back to snuff out the danger.

Only Sommer’s acrobatics prevented England from leading at half-time.

Sommer tipped Rooney’s shot behind and from the resulting corner the Switzerland goalkeeper denied Jones with a superb one-handed save.

Behrami almost handed England a way into the match just after the restart when his clearance drifted inches wide of his own goal after some good work by Henderson and Sterling.

England were soon under pressure again though and Hart did well to deny Seferovic, who had smacked a sweet volley towards the top corner.

Switzerland’s pressing left them open at the back and England took full advantage just before the hour.

Rooney galloped forward from the halfway line and slipped the ball straight into Sterling’s path.

The Liverpool winger, compared to Marc Overmars by Rooney on the eve of the match, cantered down the left just like the flying Dutchman and bypassed three defenders with a flat ball across the box to Welbeck, who shinned the ball into the net at the far post.

Sterling almost doubled England’s lead with a mazy dribble into the box, but Lichtsteiner put in a superb last-ditch tackle.

Moments after his introduction, Josip Drmic broke through the England back line and he was allowed to advance on goal despite being offside. The striker rounded Hart, but Cahill came to England’s rescue with a block on the line. It was a superb block, but one that involved his hand, much to Switzerland’s annoyance

Ricardo Rodriguez’s deflected shot sent a few pulses in the away end racing towards the death, but Hart saved.

Then in the fourth minute of injury time Sterling found substitute Rickie Lambert on the break. The Liverpool striker played the ball on to Welbeck and he slotted the ball past Sommer to seal the victory for England and their hordes of jubilant fans.

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Football: England 1-0 Norway

Dire England edge past Norway with Rooney penalty

An abominably boring match saw England scrape a 1-0 victory against Norway at a half-empty Wembley Stadium.

Looking to impress the fans after their poor performance at the World Cup, England served up a staggeringly lacklustre first 70 minutes. Steven Gerrard might have retired, but Wayne Rooney was just as capable of failing to inspire, instruct or take charge of his England side. Indeed, he was one of the worst players on the pitch – at one point standing on the ball in the box to end an attack, and then losing the ball with his subsequent pass.

The only surprise in the first half was that the Wembley crowd of just 40,181 (the lowest at Wembley for an England game since it reopened in 2007) did not boo the team off. Only the Liverpool duo of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling impressed.

In the second half, Rooney broke the deadlock after Sterling was tripped in the box, converting with a well-taken penalty. Once Rooney was subbed, England came alive, with verve and penetration around the box, but couldn’t add to the score.

Fabian Delph and Calum Chambers came on to make their debuts but England have plenty of problems and Rooney is the biggest.

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