Into a new season and not so much has changed for the England team with a disappointing performance in their opening match of the season, albeit a friendly against good opposition (the Czech Republic are ranked 7th in the World by FIFA). Yesterday Capello finally announced who his permanent captain would be and the honors went to John Terry, who was the captain during McClaren's rein as England coach. The Czech Republic were a strong team to match up against with World Cup Qualifying starting in September for England, so this match should have been a good test for the England players.
On a wet London night the Czech Republic took the lead in this friendly after a nice build-up from the visitors. Sirl crossed the ball to Baros who was able to turn towards goal and his shot was deflected by Ashley Cole into James' net. It should be mentioned that James did make a good stop from a Czech attack prior to the opening goal. England tried to make amends but to no avail. In the 38th minute Jermaine Defoe had a good opportunity to opening the scoring for England, but after latching on to a through ball from Gerrard, the Portsmouth player's shot was turned away for a corner by Petr Cech. On the stoke of half-time, former England captain, David Beckham, took a corner which Wes Brown managed to get his head on to and put the ball into Cech's goal. This was Wes Brown's first international goal. So into the changing rooms for half-time and the scoring was level.
England made a change during the interval when Emile Heskey replaced Jermaine Defoe. The subsitution did not have the inpact Capello would have liked, and the England coach saw his side go a goal behind again in the 48th minute. England conceded a freekick and David James, making his 40th appearance in an England shirt, could only watch as the ball went into the top corner thanks to Jankulovski. Back to the drawing board for the home team and it took England until stoppage time to break the Czech defence again. Once again England's goal came via a corner. The Czech defenders were unable to clear the ball away from the goal mouth and after the ball ping-ponged around, Joe Cole finally was able to stab the ball over the goal line to level the scoring once more. With time quickly running out the scoreline remained 2-2.
With only two and a half weeks remaining until England start their World Cup Qualifying campaign, let's hope that the team's performance improves in their next outing.
James #1, Brown #2, R Ferdinand #5 (Woodgate 57 mins - #15), Terry #6 - Captain, A Cole #3, Beckham #7 (Jenas 79 mins - #19), Barry #4, Lampard #8 (Bentley 79 mins - #17), Gerrard #10 (J Cole 57 mins - #20), Defoe #9 (Heskey 46 mins - #21), Rooney #11 (Downing 69 mins - #18).
Subs Not Used: Robinson #12, Hart #23, Johnson #13, Bridge #14, Upson #16, Walcott #22. (Full Squad)
Cech #1, Grygera #2 (Pospech 46 mins - #12), Ujfalusi #21, Rozehnal #22, Jankulovski #6, Vlcek #11 (Jarolim 46 mins - #14), Kovac #5 (Rajnoch 75 mins - #3), Polak #8, Plasil #20 (Papadopulos 90 mins - #9), Sirl #17 (Kadlec 75 mins - #13), Baros #15 (Sverkos 46 mins - #19).
Subs Not Used: Zitka #23.
England Goals: Brown (45 mins), J Cole (90 mins)
Czech Republic Goals: Baros (22 mins), Jankulovski (48 mins)
England Caution: Barry (12 mins)
Referee: Terje Hauge (Norway)