Friday 3 June 2016

England Edge Final Friendly Before Euro 2016

England edged past 10-man Portugal in their final warm-up game before Euro 2016, winning 1-0 in a drab affair at Wembley. It was a game that saw chances at a premium, but Chris Smalling's header in the 85th minute sealed a 1-0 victory for the hosts as Roy Hodgson made ten changes from the side that beat Australia on Friday.

Portugal were without star captain Cristiano Ronaldo after Real Madrid's Champions League win on Saturday, and played just under an hour with ten men after Bruno Alves was sent off for a dangerous high tackle on Harry Kane.

It took ten minutes for England to mount an attack as Kyle Walker lofted a pass from the right for Harry Kane, who in turn slipped the ball to Wayne Rooney and despite a fine save from Rui Patricio, the offside flag was already raised. It was Rooney again who tested the Portugal goalkeeper after a good spell of possession for the visitors, with Walker picking out the captain at the back post, but his header was easily held by Patricio. 

With ten minutes of the half to play, Portugal were reduced to ten men as Alves flew into a high tackle on Kane, catching him on the head, leaving the referee with no other option but to show the Portuguese defender a straight red card. The first shot from either side came just after the hour mark as Eric Dier had an effort from the top of the box, but it flew harmlessly over the cross bar and Roy Hodgson made his first changes not long after.

The breakthrough came for England in the 85th minute as Sterling whipped in a ball from the left that found a rising Smalling in the middle and he glanced a header past Patricio. Portgual could have snatched a draw in the dying minutes as William Carvalho headed just over the bar, but England held out to make it three wins out of three in their Euro 2016 warm-up games. America,Saturday 4th, 02:30

England will now head to France to prepare for their opening game of Euro 2016 against Russia on June 10 while Portugal have one more friendly next week before their opening game of the tournament against Iceland on June 14.

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