England hit by pre-Euro injuries from Belgium win
Roy Hodgson picked up his second win as England coach on
Saturday but also left Wembley Stadium with two new injury concerns
barely a week before the team’s European Championship campaign
Starting central defenders Gary Cahill and John Terry were sent
for scans after being forced off in a 1-0 victory over Belgium that
maintained England’s perfect record under Hodgson.
Hodgson lost two central midfielders this week when Frank
Lampard and Gareth Barry were ruled out of Euro 2012, where England
opens against France on June 11.
Terry came off in the second half with a hamstring problem,
although his scan was mainly precautionary.
Hodgson was more concerned about Cahill, who was having an X-ray
on his jaw after being pushed into goalkeeper Joe Hart by Dries
Mertens in the first half.
”If he’s fractured the jaw, which is a distinct possibility,
then of course we lose another key element of our original group,”
Hodgson said. ”If he hasn’t fractured it and it’s a case of a bad
bruise instead it won’t stop him going with us.”
A far-from-convincing victory over a talented Belgium side was
secured by Danny Welbeck’s first international goal in just his
second start, netting in the 36th minute after being fed by Ashley
”It was a good piece of work from the two front players,”
Hodgson said. ”They worked well together to pressurize the Belgium
”When Ashley played him in I thought he showed remarkable
calmness to keep his head on his left foot and chip it over the
goalkeeper (Simon Mignolet).”
Becoming the youngest England goalscorer – at 21 years and 189
days – since Theo Walcott in 2008 could help Welbeck’s chances of
filling the void left by Wayne Rooney when his Manchester United
teammate is suspended for the France and Sweden games at Euro
Rooney replaced Welbeck early in the second half to make his
first appearance under Hodgson after shaking off an apparent toe
Jermain Defoe came on for Young to work in tandem with Rooney,
hitting the post late on as he was deployed by Hodgson for the
first time. Andy Carroll didn’t feature after leading the strike
force in Norway.
While Hodgson stuck with the central defensive partnership of
captain Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker against Belgium, teenager
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was given a first start on the left wing.
James Milner on the right flank was one of only four players
retained by Hodgson from the starting lineup against Norway.
The 18-year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain made a determined start,
getting plenty of possession in his second England appearance a
week after his debut.
”I thought he did some very good things,”Hodgson said. ”But
we will have to keep working on what we expect from him.”
Despite scuffing an early shot over the bar as he slipped, the
speedy Arsenal player came closer after being teed up by Welbeck,
just striking over.
In a physical contest littered with fouls, Belgium, which didn’t
qualify for the Euros, fell behind after Gerrard won possession on
the halfway line and set Young free on a counterattack and Welbeck
But the Belgium threat persisted throughout as the English
struggled to impose themselves, with Guillaume Gillet’s rising shot
hitting the post in the second half.
”There is certainly a lot of work we need to do on our shape
offensively,” Hodgson said. ”Sometimes when we have got the ball
we are too wide in the wide areas and not making enough of getting
the ball into those pockets behind the midfield players but it is
something we are working on. But I am pretty happy really with the
That was helped by Parker managing to complete 90 minutes for
the first time following an Achilles’ injury that ruled him out of
Tottenham’s last four matches of the season.
”I’m happy he’s got over the injury and is fit to play,”
Hodgson said. ”But towards the end of games he is running on
The match was used by FIFA to test Hawk-Eye’s goal-line
technology system. Although the referee wouldn’t have been allowed
to use the signals from the cameras, there were no situations where
there was any doubt if the ball crossed the line.
At halftime, a special UEFA award was presented to England
centurions David Beckham, Peter Shilton and Bobby Charlton.
The 37-year-old Beckham, who plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy,
made the last of his 115 appearances for England in 2009.
Family members of the late 1966 World Cup captain Bobby Moore
and Billy Wright, a defender in the 1940s and `50s, also received
the commemorative cap and medal from FA chairman David