Saturday 17 March 2018

Gerrard brace salvages pride for England

ON a night when David Beckham's international career was effectively ended by Fabio Capello, England's current captain managed to salvage some pride for his embattled team-mates.

Before the game, Capello admitted that Beckham is "probably a bit too old" to play for England again, adding "thank you David" -- although he later added that "he will play one friendly to say bye bye", most likely against France on November 17.

On the pitch, England's World Cup players were booed and toiled for long periods at Wembley, although Gerrard rescued them from further ignominy with two fine second-half goals.

The home side dominated for long spells in the first half, with Theo Walcott impressing, but Hungarian 'keeper Gabor Kiraly was called upon to make only one save, from Gerrard.

Capello made four half-time changes with Kieran Gibbs, Bobby Zamora and Michael Dawson winning their first caps, while Ashley Young was also brought into the action.

John Terry, Ashley Cole -- both loudly booed earlier -- Walcott and Frank Lampard were replaced, meaning that seven of the England players on the pitch had only 21 caps between them.

England then went behind on 62 minutes after another controversial refereeing decision, which evoked memories of Lampard's disallowed effort at the World Cup.

Phil Jagielka deflected a shot from Hungarian skipper Zoltan Gera towards his own goal but Michael Dawson looked to have made the clearance before the ball crossed the line -- only for the linesman to award the goal.

With the crowd getting restless, though, Gerrard finally gave them something to cheer with a 30-yard thunderbolt equaliser. Wayne Rooney then left the field to jeers and he responded with sarcastic applause to all sides of the ground, before Gerrard scored the winner, poking the ball past Kiraly.

  • Brian Kerr's Faroe Islands were denied a rare win as Estonia scored two injury-time goals in a European Championship qualifier last night. Kerr's men were denied when Kaimar Saag equalised for Estonia in the 91st minute, before Raio Piiroja's goal three minutes into added-time won it.

Irish Independent

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