Wednesday, June 29, 2022

World Cup Friendly: England Beats Nigeria At Wembley

England thrashed Nigeria on Saturday in a top rated friendly just days before World Cup in Russia.

The Super Eagles underperformed in the first half and rightly conceded two goals – it could have been more before the 70,025 people packed into Wembley Stadium.

The Eagles were anything but super in a poor first-half display but they conceded just the two goals to Gary Cahill and Harry Kane, who continued his record of scoring for England whenever he captains his country.

The Eagles looked clumsy from the start as Leon Balogun and Joel Obi bashed heads as early as the fourth minute. Francis Uzoho made his first save from a Kieran Trippier free-kick soon after as the Three Lions laid siege on Nigeria’s half of the pitch.

The first corner of the game on seven minutes yielded the first goal as Cahill out-jumped Mikel Obi to thump a header beyond Bryan Idowu on the goal line. John Stones should have scored England’s second but his touch was weak and the effort gladly gathered by Uzoho.

The second half saw Gernot Rohr make four changes – John Ogu, Oghenekaro Etebo, Kenneth Omeruo, and Tyronne Ebuehi came on for Onazi, Joel Obi, Balogun, and Abdullahi Shehu.

And it was not long before the changes sparked the Eagles as a good move from the back through the middle opened up for a goal-bound Odion Ighalo but his attempt came off the post with the rebound side-footed in by Alex Iwobi. That was two minutes into the second half and the Eagles finally had lifted off.

Immediately the England team stepped back a few feet as the Eagles matched them in midfield. Three corners followed in quick succession for the Eagles and there was a scoring chance for Ogu, which he couldn’t convert.

Raheem Sterling was shown a yellow card for simulation on 51 minutes and Eric Dier then flashed a header past Uzoho’s left post as England came back at the Nigerians.

Victor Moses went off as tiredness crept into his game having had just one practice session in the lead to the game. Ahmed Musa came on and was immediately a threat down the left flank.

There was another clash of heads in the 74th minute between Etebo and Omeruo. Musa was yellow carded for a tackle on Ruben Loftus Cheek as Rohr sent on Kelechi Iheanacho. Troost-Ekong executed a perfect tackle on Danny Welbeck as the game settled into a humdrum.

Fabian Delph, on as a substitute lofted a ball into Marcus Rashford’s path but the Manchester United forward headed over. Ebuehi also tried a lobbed ball to Mikel in the 88th minute but he was called up for a foul on Pickford.

Rohr must have seen a lot during the encounter. He asked for a great atmosphere – he got one and some of his players froze in the lights of Wembley. Next stop is a game against the Czech Republic in Austria next Wednesday.



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