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
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 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.”