World Cup 2010
Match Reports

England 4-0 Slovakia
Friendly
Wembley, London, England - Saturday 28 March 2009


With a World Cup qualifier in four days, England scheduled a friendly on this date set aside for international fixtures. It proved to be a good platform as the team prepare to face the Ukraine on Wednesday.

On a day when England's new home shirt was unveiled, it took only seven minutes for Emile Heskey to put Capello's side ahead. Rooney played the ball to Gerrard who sent the ball in to Heskey, who was in front of the goal. As a Slovakian defender made a tackle, Heskey managed to make contact with the ball with his left foot for his first goal for England in six years.

Unfortunately Heskey only lasted a quarter of an hour of this match before needing to be replaced by Carlton Cole due to injury. Then, bizarrely, this position changed player a further twice when Carlton Cole had to leave the pitch with an injury. He was replaced by Portmouth's Peter Crouch, who also left the field with an injury and was substituted by Michael Carrick. Capello will have been grateful that he was not limited to three subsitutes this evening. However, it will concern the coach that he may potentially only have Rooney fit to play on Wednesday from his current strikers. Withdrawals from the squad by these injured strikers are possible, and subsequent call-ups to the squad will then be inevitable before the Ukraine fixture, if the injuries sustained today are not quick to heal.

Injury aside, Heskey missed a sitter two minutes after scoring, when after a lovely ball down the left from Lampard, Rooney sent the ball to the unmarked Villa player. Heskey headed the ball frustratingly over the bar.

On the half hour mark, David James made a diving save from Karhan, who made an attempt to get the visitors on the scoresheet from the edge of the box. Then Senecky had to stop a shot from Lennon and Gerrard's follow-up shot. With five minutes of the first half remaining, there was a miscommunication between Ashley Cole and Matthew Upson which saw David James put Vittek's shot over his crossbar.

During half-time Capello made three changes to his line-up, sending on Manchester United's Ben Foster for David James. After a solid first half performance, Steven Gerrard was replaced by Stewart Downing and history was made when former captain, David Beckham, replaced Aaron Lennon for his 109th cap - a record for an England outfield player.

Jendrisek had an opportunity in the 57th minute to level the scoreline but his shot went into the side netting. Rooney and John Terry almost scored, but with a great performance from Manchester United's fiery striker in this match, in the 70th minute Rooney extended England's lead. Gareth Barry switched the play from left to right field where Beckham sent in a lovely cross to Rooney whose header beat Senecky and went into the far corner of the goal.

Lampard scored England's 500th Wembley goal (old and new stadiums) in the 82nd minute with a right foot shot into the far corner of Slovakia's net. And with two minutes of time added on, Rooney got his second goal when Lampard spotted the striker breaking in the centre who put the ball passed Senecky with his left foot.

This was a lovely display from the home side, and confidence will be high as the team await to play the Ukraine mid-week.


Teams

ENGLAND:
James #1 (Foster 46 mins - #21), Upson #5, Terry #6, A Cole #3, Johnson #2, Barry #4, Lampard #8, Gerrard #11 (Downing 46 mins - #18), Lennon #7 (Beckham 46 mins - #17), Rooney #10, Heskey #9 (C Cole 15 mins - #19 (Crouch 35 mins - #20 (Carrick 74 mins - #16))).
Subs Not Used: Green #12, Jagielka #13, Baines #15, Lescott #14. (Full Squad)

SLOVAKIA:
Senecky #1, Skrtel #3, Valachovic #21, Cech #4 (Holosko 46 mins - #13), Pekarik #2, Karhan #6 (Strba 83 mins - #16), Zabavnik #5, Vittek #11 (Jendrisek 46 mins - #18), Kozak #8 (Sapara 62 mins - #10), Hamsik #17 (Mintal 79 mins - #9), Sestak #7 (Jakubko 72 mins - #14).
Subs Not Used: Cisovsky #19, Mucha #12, Kratochvil #15, Kamenar #25, Dobrotka #22, Obzera #23.

Match Details

England Goals: Heskey (7 mins), Rooney (70 & 90 mins) Lampard (82 mins)

Slovakia Caution: Sapara (77 mins)

Referee: Alain Hamer (Luxembourg)

Attendance: 85,512