England were beaten for the first time at the new Wembley Stadium tonight by France 2-1, and it was a deserved victory for the French.
Andy Carroll – in action for England tonight at Wembley
Newcastle number 9 Andy Carroll made his England debut and put in an impressive show, and he won a number of headers and his hold-up play was good, but England hardly put any high balls into the box, so never really used the Geordie striker’s strengths..
But France completely outplayed England in the first half, as they completely dominated the midfield, and deservedly went ahead with a good goal from Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema on 16 minutes.
As half time approached it was obvious that Fabio Capello would have to change things around, if England were to get back in the game, and Andy Carroll was probably England’s best player in the first 45 minutes.
Fabio introduced Micah Richards, Ashley Young and Adam Johnson for Theo Walcott, Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry, and Everton’s Phil Jagielka moved to center-back from his unaccustomed right back position, and Man City’s Micah Richards came in at right back for the very first time under Fabio Capello.
Steven Gerrard took over the captaincy and went from playing the deep striker role that Kevin Nolan plays at Newcastle, to central midfield, to try to get England back into the game, and the England team were much improved immediately after the break.
However, a beautiful move down the right wing by Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna set up Valbuena, who swept the ball past goalkeeper Ben Forster in expert style, and England were behind 2-0 after 55 minutes.
On 75 minutes Newcastle’s Andy Carroll was replaced by Jay Bothroyd, also making his England debut, and Andy got good applause from the London crowd for a very promising debut, although England never used his strengths by playing high balls into the box..
And then Steven Gerrard, who had bravely attempted take the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half, went off injured and no doubt Liverpool manger Roy Hodgson will be pleased to see that.
Steven was replaced by Spurs striker Peter Crouch, who within a minute of coming on after 83 minutes, scored his 23rd goal fro England, when he calmly volleyed home a corner from Ashley Young – a great goal from Peter.
But there was no equalizer for this England side, who in the end were simply beaten by a better France side.
Perhaps only France were worse than England in last summer’s World Cup in South Africa, but the French showed good skill and good football tonight to deservedly win this game, so let’s give them credit where it is due.
When Andy came off to warm applause after 75 minutes, we didn’t any sign of a limp, which hopefully is good news for manager Chris Hughton and the Newcastle fans. 😀