Wembley is Welbeck’s Garden of Eden as England avoid Belgium hazard

19:29 02 June 2012

England

England's Danny Welbeck (centre) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his side's first goal of the game

PA Wire/Press Association Images

International Friendly: England 1 Belgium 0

Danny Welbeck scored the only goal of the game to send England off to the Euros 2012 with a victory against Belgium.

But in truth, this was a game dominated almost from start to finish from the visitors.

England have downplayed their chances of success in Poland And Ukraine and frankly it’s well deserved.

The Manchester United striker took his goal well, Cooly chipping Simon Mignolet on 37 minutes from just inside the penalty area.

This was a game where defence was on top for England with sporadic counter-attacks.

Belgium, who failed to qualify for the Euros, we’re superior in attack but suspect in defence.

As for the game, good early pressure by the visitors, with Chelsea’s soon-to-be signing Eden Hazard pulling the strings set the pattern for the game.

England, by contrast, were struggling to get hold of the ball.

However, England should have taken the lead on eight minutes, when following a chipped free-kick by John Terry, James Milner found himself free on the right. He cut a low ball back from the byline into the path of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the young Arsenal winger scuffed his shot from the edge of the area, somewhat embarrassingly.

Oxlade-Chamberlain redeemed himself on 14 minutes. In similar fashion, but this time on the left, he received a cutback from Danny Welbeck. The wide man’s shot was hit well and true, but veered wide of Simon Mignolet’s goal at the last minute.

Belgium did put the ball in the back of the net three minutes later, when Dries Mertens, slotted home with a side footer from two yards, but he had already pushed Gary Cahill into Joe Hart in the process- an infringement which resulted in a yellow card.

But more worryingly for England, Cahill failed to recover sufficiently from what appeared to be a blow on the head, when he hit Hart and was instantly replaced by Joleon Lescott.

A powerful 20-yard shot by Axel Witsel zipped over Hart’s crossbar as Belgium exerted greater pressure on the home side’s defence.

Scott Parker entered the book of Denmark referee Petr Rasmussen on 30 minutes after clattering Mertens.

Against the run of play, with nine minutes of the half remaining, England took the lead, Steven Gerard won the ball in midfield, and slide it to Ashley Young.

The Manchester United forward then bisected the Belgium defence with a fine pass into the gleeful path of teammate Welbeck. the striker, cooly raced into the penalty area, slightly on the left, and expertly chipped the ball over the advancing goalkeeper Mignolet and into the empty net, It was the 21-year-old’s first goal at full international level.

Hazard then tried a 30-yarder, but the effort, while on target, did not trouble Hart.

While no changes were made at half-time by either side, England boss Roy Hodgson decided to bring on Wayne Rooney for Welbeck eight minutes after the restart.

Belgium started the second half as the finished the first, pushing England back towards their own goal.

Marouane Fellaini and Hazard were the chief architects - Hart was forced into a save from a left- footer from Fellaini on 61 minutes.

There then followed a flurry of substitutions.

Hodgson replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain and Young for Theo Walcott and Jermain Defoe on 66 minutes.

Three minutes later and it was John Terry’s turn to walk off the turf, replaced by Phil Jagielka.

Chelsea’s Romelu Lakaku entered the fray for Belgium with 18 minutes of the game left, replacing Mertens.

It was Lukaku who almost equalised within two minutes, following excellent set-up play by Hazard. He was quick to get a shot away but his club mate Cole blocked as Belgium pressed even closer to levelling the scores.

Full-back Guillaume Givet then got in on the act on 78 minutes when his rasper of a 25-yard right-footer beat Hart but crashed off the stopper’s right post.

Defoe returned the compliment of hitting the post on 81 minutes when England finally decided to venture forward from a counterattack.

The game petered out with Belgium still trying to get the equaliser and England happy to sit back and run the clock down.

That bit, they did successfully.

Teams: England, Hart, Johnson, Gerrard, Cahill, Cole, Terry, Milner, Parker, Welbeck, Young, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Subs, Jones, Green, Baines, Lescott, Jagielka, Henderson, Downing, Defoe, Rooney, Carroll, Walcott, Butland

Belgium, Mignolet, Gillet, Vertonghen, Kompany, Vermaelen, Mertens, Witsel, Mirallas, Hazard, Fellaini, Dembele

Subs, Renard, Simons, De Camargo, Pocognoli, Chadli, Benteke, Vossen, Lukaku, Odoi, De Ceulaer, Defour, Nainggolan

Referee Peter Rasmussen (Denmark)

Attendance: 85,091

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Submit your Arsenal player ratings

Latest Arsenal news

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Harry Kane of Spurs (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has been named London24 Sport’s Player of the Month for February.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Francis Coquelin has returned to Arsenal training (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Francis Coquelin made a swift return to Arsenal training on Tuesday morning as the Gunners stepped up their preparations for Wednesday’s London derby against QPR.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Héctor Bellerín of Arsenal  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Hector Bellerin has revealed that Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna are among the players he looks up to.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Thomas Eisfeld in Arsenal training  (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Former Arsenal midfielder Thomas Eisfeld has revealed what Arsene Wenger is really like on the training ground.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
West Ham's Winston Reid in action against Tottenham (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce insists Winston Reid is no closer to agreeing a new contract at Upton Park – despite having an “exceptionally good offer” on the table from the club.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

We’ll give you a clue – he didn’t react well.

Read more

The Comic Relief Bake Off contestant has confessed she hasn’t turned on her oven for three years – so she stores her footwear in it.

Read more

And its bizarre appearance helps it catch its prey.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

(Not guaranteed)

Mothers Day is fast approaching, so we’ve rounded up some unusual and beautiful gifts for you to dazzle the most important woman in your life come March 15th.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Arsenal Transfer News