England, Dutch win friendlies ahead of Euros

England earned its second straight victory under Roy Hodgson on

Saturday, while European Championship co-host Poland and the

Netherlands had big wins in their final tuneups.

Danny Welbeck scored his first international goal in the 36th

minute to give England a 1-0 victory over a talented Belgium team

at Wembley and ensure that it enters Euro 2012 with a perfect

record under Hodgson. England beat Norway by the same score last


Poland swept aside lowly Andorra 4-0 in Warsaw after three

first-half goals in its last pre-Euro friendly, while the

Netherlands routed Northern Irleand 6-0.

Denmark beat Australia 2-0 at home, but Croatia had to settle

for a 1-1 draw at Norway after Tarik Elyounoussi equalized in

injury time for the hosts. Striker Eduardo da Silva had given

Croatia the lead in the 79th.

England’s victory may prove costly as both starting central

defenders were taken off with injury concerns. Gary Cahill was

pushed into goalkeeper Joe Hart in the second half and was taken

for an X-ray on his jaw, while Chelsea teammate John Terry came off

in the second half because of a hamstring problem.

”Cahill is slightly more of a concern because it’s a jaw

injury,” Hodgson said. ”I am hoping the scan doesn’t show a

fracture and it will be a bruise. That’s wouldn’t rule him out of

the tournament.”

England again failed to impress against Belgium, but Welbeck

converted the team’s first good scoring chance and a solid

defensive effort prevented the visitors from converting their edge

in possession into dangerous opportunities.

After Belgium turned the ball over in midfield, Ashley Young set

up his Manchester United teammate Welbeck with a perfect ball into

the area and the striker calmly chipped goalkeeper Simon Mignolet

to give England the lead.

Belgium’s Eden Hazard largely failed to show why Chelsea is

reportedly about to pay more than 30 million pounds for the Lille

playmaker, while Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku both

threatened in the second half but couldn’t seriously test Hart in

the England goal.

In Warsaw, Poland led 3-0 by halftime after Ludovic Obraniak

scored in the 13th before striker Robert Lewandowski and midfielder

Jakub Blaszczykowski both netted in a two-minute span just before

the break. Marcin Wasilewski made it 4-0 in the 77th.

Poland will open Euro 2012 against Greece in Group A, which also

includes the Czech Republic and Russia.

The Dutch were back to their high-scoring habits, as Robin van

Persie and Ibrahim Afellay scored two goals each and Wesley

Sneijder curled in a free kick as the hosts cut through the Irish

defense almost at will.

The Netherlands had a 4-0 lead at halftime and Afellay made it

5-0 shortly after the break before a string of substitutions broke

the Dutch rhythm.

Defender Ron Vlaar headed home a corner in the 78th minute to

complete the rout.

In Copenhagen, Daniel Agger converted a penalty for Denmark in

the 31st and Andreas Bjelland scored the second from a corner in

the 66th.

The Danes dominated the first half but slowed down after taking

the two-goal lead. However, Australia failed to convert several


”They were tired. They have had a tough week because they have

been training all week long,” said Denmark coach Morten Olsen.

”It is important for us that we have a win at this moment.”