The England national team kept a stiff upper limit marching to victory following the firing of Sam Allardyce.
New manager Gareth Southgate’s England went top of Group F with a modest 2-0 victory over minnows Malta thanks to the above goal from striker Daniel Sturridge and no. 10 Dele Alli. The Spurs man impressed again & said:
“Yeah definitely ( whether he should have got a hat-trick) I like to get in the box and get goals and assists and I can’t complain the chances were there, maybe I need to be more clinical…He’s (Gareth Southgate) a fantastic manager and I’ve worked with him before…A solid performance from the boys.”
Wayne Rooney started in midfield alongside Jordan Henderson – groans of ‘Give Over’ from England fans mirrored the Malta shirt sponsors – yet England’s main man showed again why he always commands the headlines.
After a near disastrous early loss of the ball that had England fans having nightmares of Davide Gualteri’s goal for San Marino against David Seaman in 1993, Rooney took control of the ball and game.
Allowed the freedom of Wembley and unpressed – something that better teams – (see Iceland at The Euros) will do, Rooney was able to strut his passing stuff and spray Hollywood balls to his wingers and roving full-backs.
Fantastic interchanging passes and movement from Alli, Jesse Lingard on his debut and Daniel Sturridge in particular caused problems and Malta keeper Andrew Hogg was the game’s Man of the Match, and said:
“England impressed me more (than Scotland) That (Scotland result) was unfair and we’re underestimated, we can play”
A string of impressive saves from Hogg, from Rooney’s rasping drive from distance in the 8th minute and each of Sturridge, Dele Alli and Walcott kept England at bay and the scoreline down.
There was nothing he could do in the 29th minute for the opener from The Three Lions, whose domination and possession was made to count when Sturridge superbly headed in Liverpool team-mate Henderson’s cross.
The lead was soon doubled in the 37th minute by Dele Alli at the second attempt following incisive approach work again from Henderson:
2-0 at half-time was a fair reflection of the first half with Malta’s ‘Mannequins’ (Lee Dixon, ITV) limited in ambition.
With the game and points effectively in the bag at 2-0, the Three Lions were largely underwhelming yet saw out the game in slick enough fashion.
If anything, England should have extended their lead through Sturridge, Walcott or Dele Alli who each had good chances yet England’s 4 goals from their last 87 shots demonstrates where they collectively need to improve.
A string of set-pieces from Wayne Rooney, corners and free-kicks from the left side, were not made to count although one arcing cross-cum-shot was very well-saved by Hogg.
At the other end, fortunately for Joe Hart following his disastrous Euros, the Torino goalkeeper was limited to one late save, a near-post stop in the 71st minute.
Substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy injected some pace and urgency in the final 20 minutes for the home side while ex-Barnsley striker Michael Mufsid replaced Alfred Effiong to little effect for the away team.
England manager Gareth Southgate said:
“First half we played well, we could and should have more goals but the ‘keeper made some good saves…There’s always room to improve but subconsciously, players know the game is won so while we could have made it more comfortable for ourselves, the next game comes quickly”
England travel to Slovenia for their 3rd World Cup qualification game in Group F on Tuesday, hopefully this time with the same manager intact.
Hart – 7 – One good stop in a very quiet 90 minutes for the England rearguard.
Walker – 8 – Constantly driving forwards and snuffed out threat at the back.
Bertrand – 6 – Early injury meant early bath
(Sub – Rose 19 – 8 – Provided real cutting edge down the left in attack)
Cahill 8 – Important second half block and tackle when needed
Stones – 8 – Made inroads into the Malta half and looked to get on the ball.
Henderson – 9 – All-round midfield display and great crossing including assist for opener.
Rooney – 7 – Sprayed Hollywood balls, dangerous set-pieces and kept England ticking.
Walcott – 6 – A menace at times yet needs to be more effective.
(Sub Rashford 68 – 8 – Took the game to Malta and revived England penetration)
Lingard – 8 – Excellent movement and touches throughout, an intelligent display on full debut.
Sturridge – 7 – Well-taken first goal yet could have extended Three Lions lead
(Sub Vardy 73 – 7 -Harried tired defence yet not enough time to make an impact)
Alli – 8 – Threatening throughout, good goal yet should have had at least 2 if not 3.
Juventus Fans Arrested After Clash with Police
Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash between Juventus and Ajax has already been marred by violence and controversy, before the teams even took to the pitch.
According to Ansa, citing a report from De Telegraaf, dozens of fans were reportedly arrested in Amsterdam in the hours leading up to the game.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini (h/t Football Italia) took to Facebook live video to state that “around 120” fans had been arrested.
Per the report from De Telegraaf, fans near the Johan Cruyff Arena were “in possession of knives, clubs, pepper spray and flares.” Also, dozens of Ajax supporters were reported to have clashed with riot police in separate incidents outside the stadium and were eventually dispersed with the use of tear gas and water cannons.
The Mirror posted the following images on their Twitter page:
Man City forward Raheem Sterling Looking to Combat Racism on the Pitch
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who spoke out last month after being subjected to taunts during England’s game in Montenegro, is looking to take his fight against racism to the pitch, saying he would rather stay on the field than let racism force him to walk off of the pitch during a match.
Sterling’s manager Pep Guardiola, stated that he would support players walking off in protest if it happened again, in a strong statement that racism is simply not acceptable.
“I think everyone are entitled to their own opinions. My mum has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and I am,” Sterling said, according to the Manchester Evening News.
“I wouldn’t personally agree with [walking off], to win the game would hurt them even more they’re only trying to get you down. If you walk off they win, to score or win would be better.
“Everyone’s different. Everyone has their own opinion, how they deal with things emotionally and you have to support everyone.”
Sterling opened up about the racism he has faced in his life, discussing when he first expereinced racism when he moved from North London up to the north-west back in 2010.
“I don’t think trying to make a difference or making a difference, it’s about speaking what you experience. Some people might shy away from it, if more players speak up that might be better.
“It’s offensive but growing up my mum always told me I’m a wonderful black child and I know this. When I hear it, it’s nothing new. I’m happy with it. I’m confident, I’m black and I’m proud. Some people can’t take it but my mum has always told me to love who I am.
“The first time I experienced racism is when I went up north to Liverpool – in London in schools and on a day-to-day basis you’re surrounded by a diverse community. Only a few occasions growing up in the academy in Liverpool, and then mainly in the last couple of years of being a professional.”
Birmingham City Fan Jailed for 14 Days for Punching Aston Villa Player
27-year old Paul Mitchel, a Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 days after he plead guilt to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Graelish during the derby on Sunday.
Mitchell rushed the pitch and took a swing at Graelish when the player’s back was turned at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match on Sunday.
Mitchell admitted to invading the pitch and has been officially banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for up to 10 years, and was also ordered to pay £350 in total fines.
Graelish made a statement in which he described how he was “shocked and scared” by the attack.
“I cannot help but feel how lucky I was in this incident,” he said (h/t ESPN). “It could have been so much worse had the supporter had some sort of weapon.”
“He cannot explain what came over himself yesterday morning,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Vaughn Whistance, said on Monday.
“His initial foolish intention was to go onto the pitch to whip up the crowd. He is certainly remorseful today. He is a man with a partner, they have a 2-year-old together and they’re expecting their second child.”
“This weekend a line has been crossed in terms of fan behaviour,” said a spokesperson for the FA.
“On Sunday we saw two separate incidents, at Birmingham City and Arsenal, of individuals entering the field of play and assaulting players.
“Not only is it an offence to enter the pitch, which could result in a club ban and criminal charges for the individual, but it also puts the safety of the players at risk.
“This is entirely unacceptable and we strongly condemn both incidents.
“We will be working with the clubs, the leagues and the police to discuss what collectively needs to be done to protect players and officials on the pitch.
“In addition, we have written to both Birmingham City and Arsenal to seek their observations to examine the security measures they had in place.”
Birmingham City apologized to Grealish and Aston Villa and banned Mitchell for life.
“Birmingham City Football Club would like to apologise to Jack Grealish and Aston Villa Football Club for an incident in Sunday afternoon’s derby match,” a club statement said.
“We deplore the behaviour of the individual who committed this act and rest assured he will be banned from St. Andrew’s for life. The club will also support any further punishment this individual may face in the eyes of the law.
“The club will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate all the circumstances and we will be reviewing our stadium safety procedures.
“What happened has no place in football or society. Jack is a Birmingham lad and regardless of club allegiance should not have been subjected to this — there are no excuses.
“Again, we apologise to Jack and all at Aston Villa Football Club.”
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