England toil to win over Norway

first_imgWayne Rooney celebrated his appointment as England captain with the winner against Norway on a night when fans turned their back on the team following their dismal World Cup exit.Only 40,181 turned out at Wembley for England’s first game since they were eliminated after two group-stage defeats by Italy and Uruguay in Brazil.Rooney’s penalty at least enabled manager Roy Hodgson to enjoy the taste of victory after a winless summer in South America – but the lowest turn-out for an England international at the new Wembley underlined the extent to which England have lost the public’s imagination.Norway are hardly the most glamorous of opponents, but on a balmy night such a meagre attendance is a reflection on the apathy that currently surrounds the England team after the World Cup.This game was designed as preparation for Monday’s testing Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland in Basel and it was an uninspiring affair played out in front of vast swathes of empty seats, with Wembley’s top tier deserted and the one below hardly populated.Former England defender Phil Neville on BBC Radio 5 live”Forget the result. You have to learn things about your team from friendlies like this and the first system England used (4-4-2) was a bit slow. “When they changed it to three in midfield it was more exciting and that’s the system I’d like to see on Monday.”If there were positives to take from England’s display it was the vibrant performance from Liverpool’s young attacker Raheem Sterling and Rooney’s goal, which was his 41st for his country, taking him to fourth in the all-time listings and only eight behind record-holder Sir Bobby Charlton.Sterling won the 68th-minute penalty that proved decisive when he was fouled by Omar Elabdellaoui, allowing Rooney to comprehensively beat Norway keeper Orjan Haskold Nyland.Liverpool team-mates Sterling and Daniel Sturridge were lively in partnership in the first half but Norway were given some encouragement when they put England under pressure after the break, keeper Joe Hart saving brilliantly from Joshua King, who also almost took advantage of a slip by Gary Cahill.Cahill provided a late worry for Hodgson when he limped off after a knock and had his ankle encased in ice. Hodgson tried Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson as his new central midfield partnership, with former captain Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard now retired and Everton’s Ross Barkley injured.Both were busy but in such an atmosphere, more akin to a testimonial than an England international, it seemed the players had trouble raising their own game.A new low for EnglandThe lowest attendance for an England match at Wembley since 2007, before the game against Norway, was the friendly against Sweden in November 2011, when 48,876 turned upHodgson will have been satisfied by a solid performance at right-back from Everton’s John Stones while Arsenal new boy Danny Welbeck,signed from Manchester United in a £16m deadline day deal, looked lively as a substitute.There were also England debuts for Arsenal’s summer signing Calum Chambers and Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph. Switzerland will provide a much sterner test, as they proved with their own performances in Brazil, and Hodgson will at least hope England’s confidence has been bolstered by the victory, if not the performance in an almost surreal Wembley atmosphere.Wembley was less than half full for England first match since their disappointing World CupNew England captain Wayne Rooney did not have a shot on goal in the first half England coach Roy Hodgson (right) gives his players a team-talk during a frustrating first half for his teamRooney moved to fourth on the all-time England goalscorers list with his penalty New Arsenal signing Danny Welbeck impressed when he came on and went close with a late effort LINEUP, BOOKINGS (0) & SUBSTITUTIONS (12)England01 Hart03 Baines06 Jones02 Stones (Chambers – 81′ )05 Cahill (Jagielka – 84′ )07 Wilshere (Milner – 69′ )11 Sterling04 Henderson08 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Delph – 69′ )10 Rooney (Welbeck – 70′ )09 Sturridge (Lambert – 89′ )Substitutes12 Rose13 Forster14 Jagielka15 Chambers16 Milner17 Delph18 Townsend19 Welbeck20 LambertNorway12 Nyland08 Nordtveit23 Forren16 Elabdellaoui17 Linnes (Flo – 36′ )19 Jenssen (Pedersen – 87′ )06 Johansen15 Skjelbred (Elyounoussi – 69′ )07 King (Nielsen – 76′ )10 Elyounoussi (Kamara – 78′ )20 Daehli (Konradsen – 57′ )Substitutes01 Jarstein03 Semb Berge04 Hagen05 Flo09 Samuelsen11 Pedersen14 Konradsen18 Nielsen21 Tettey22 Hansen24 Elyounoussi25 KamaraRef: Manuel Jorge SousaAtt: 40,181last_img

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