England completed their
preparations for Euro 2012 when a Danny Welbeck goal sealed a
1-0 win over Belgium in a friendly at Wembley on Saturday to
give new manager Roy Hodgson his second successive victory since
being appointed last month.
Welbeck scored his first senior England goal after 36
minutes when he dinked the ball over goalkeeper Simon Mignolet
after a precise through pass from Ashley Young.
There were injury concerns for Hodgson's central defenders,
however, with Gary Cahill going off after clattering into his
own goalkeeper Joe Hart when he was shoved in the back after 17
minutes by Dries Mertens who was booked for the challenge.
Cahill will undergo a scan after fears he may have suffered
a broken jaw. John Terry will also require a scan, according to
Hodgson, after tweaking a hamstring.
Cahill and Terry's Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard has
already been ruled out with a thigh injury while fellow
midfielder Gareth Barry is another player ruled out of Hodgson's
squad with a groin injury.
In a largely low-key pre-tournament friendly, Belgium
dominated much of the possession but England did enough to win
their second successive match 1-0 following last week's friendly
in Oslo against Norway.
Both teams went close to scoring late in the game with
Belgian defender Guillaume Gillet sending a fierce angled drive
against the England post and England substitute Jermain Defoe
hitting the post at the other end.
England started with only four of the players who began in
Norway - captain Steven Gerrard, James Milner, Scott Parker and
Oslo scorer Young with Hodgson employing a rigid 4-4-2 system
against a more fluid Belgian team.
The visitors, who had only beaten England once in 20
previous internationals and not since 1936, failed to qualify
for the Euro finals after finishing behind Germany and Turkey in
their qualifying group, but have a team full of up-and-coming
players that could lead them to the World Cup in Brazil.
Fo most of the first half they were better technically than
England with Eden Hazard, set for a move to Chelsea this summer,
impressive going forwards and Jan Vertonghen, seemingly bound
for Tottenham, looking solid in a defence deprived of Manchester
City's Vincent Kompany after the warm-up.
The Belgian skipper, nursing a calf injury, aggravated it
just before the kick-off and was replaced by Timmy Simons,
winning his 91st cap.
England showed glimpses of potential, especially from
Welbeck and teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, making his first
start, who twice shot wide from good positions in the opening
half. Gerrard had a double-chance with two shots that were
blocked just before the break.
Belgium had the ball in the net in the opening period when
Mertens forced the ball over the line from an acute angle after
17 minutes but the incident will best be remembered for his
shove on Cahill who went off injured to be replaced by Joleon
The match was noteworthy as the first international being
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