SCOTS DISPATCHED BY HODGSON’S HUNGRY LIONS
The historic tie of England versus Scotland ended with a straightforward win for the former last night. Glasgow witnessed two Wayne Rooney goals and a large number of Scottish errors and mistakes. The Three Lions took their opportunities well and claimed their sixth successive victory.
After an impressive start to the domestic season with West Ham United, Stewart Downing was awarded his first cap since facing Norway in Oslo, 2012, in Hodgson’s first match at the helm. England played Southampton’s Fraser Forster in goal as Joe Hart was rested. Wayne Rooney began up front with Luke Shaw at left-back.
The first chance saw backpedalling Gary Cahill nod just over from an early England corner. Secondly, Danny Welbeck stole the ball and passed to Wayne Rooney in an attempt to begin a counter. He passed back to Welbeck, who forced a diving parry by Cardiff City’s David Marshall.
A while later, an air shot by captain Scott Brown was taken by Welbeck, whose pass to Rooney was too powerful. A similar situation occurred for Scotland on twenty-five minutes. A cross by left-back Andy Robertson was missed by the diving Brown. The first goal of the match came on thirty-three minutes. As Jack Wilshere picked the ball up just ahead of the halfway line, he floated a fantastic through-ball that dropped right over the Scottish defence. There to skim the ball into the net with his head was Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He had scored his fourth international goal, a good amount for a twenty year-old midfielder. He had completed a deft header, beyond the reach of any keeper, never mind Marshall. That proved the last ‘action’ of the first half, and at the break England deservedly led.
Just a minute into the second half, Charlie Mulgrew committed a very cynical foul on the goalscorer Oxlade-Chamberlain. Mulgrew picked up a yellow card and England claimed a free-kick on the right wing. James Milner took the set piece with a good delivery. The ball was knocked away by half-time Scottish sub Darren Fletcher, but came out to Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere. He volleyed the ball back into the box. The ball reached skilful left-back Andy Robertson, who unintentionally sliced the ball into the path of Wayne Rooney. The ball came at such a sluggish pace that it was to be difficult for the Manchester United man to generate enough power on the ball to trouble the goalkeeper. In fact, Rooney did pretty well and his header was as far into the corner as Oxlade-Chamberlain’s in the first half. Craig Gordon – the substitute goalkeeper playing his first international for four years – could get nowhere near it. Just three minutes into his return to international football, a goal had been conceded by Celtic’s Gordon.
Next of the action saw a Charlie Mulgrew freekick cleverly knocked on target by Norwich City’s Russell Martin. Goalkeeper Forster tipped the ball over the bar well. Yet another counter from England saw Rooney pass out wide to the advanced Oxlade-Chamberlain. His deflected cross reached Wilshere, but Milner got into his way, and the Arsenal man’s volley travelled low and wide. As leftback Andy Robertson jinxed passed Sterling, he passed to the wide man, debutant Johnny Russell. The striker passed back to Robertson, who fired low passed Forster. The Scots had scored one, but had they sparked a comeback?
In recent matches, specifically the Italy and Slovenia games, England have scored almost instantly after conceding. To predict an instant reply from the Three Lions would be correct. Clyne found Sterling, who passed to Rickie Lambert on the right wing. He passed forward to Milner. The Manchester City man offloaded the ball to Liverpool’s Adam Lallana. His pullback into the box was inch perfect, and three Scottish defenders would rue not picking Rooney up, as his passed finish beat Gordon again. Under two minutes after losing a goal, England had regained their two goal advantage. This was in the eighty-fifth minute and nothing of excitement followed. The whistle blew from the mouth of referee Jonas Eriksson to crown off a famous Glasgow night for England.