Euro 2012: international friendly report
- 02 June 2012 23:20
- Posted by Mark Booth
Wins for England and Holland but a miserable night for the Azzurri.
England ran out 1-0 winners for the second time in a week, overcoming a talented Belgium side missing their skipper Vincent Kompany.
James Milner played the full 90 minutes and did his chances of landing a starting berth no harm at all with his disciplined performance in England's final friendly before the tournament.
Milner offered England an out ball as their opponents wrestled control of possession and he also doubled up to provide an extra man in defence when the Chelsea-bound Eden Hazard was threatening Glen Johnson at right-back.
Joe Hart was largely untested but that was down to the work of his City teammate Joleon Lescott in front of him. Despite the blood gushing from his facial wound picked up in a clash deep in the second half, Lescott was rock solid alongside John Terry and then Phil Jagielka in the latter stages.
Vincent failed a late fitness test but seemed in good spirits, laughing and joking with his clubmates Joleon Lescott and Joe Hart before and after the game.
City’s captain took to Twitter shortly after full-time and heaped praise on England and Lescott, citing their organisation as evidence that they could go far at Euro 2012.
“Surely @JoleonLescott did enough to be No1 CB. 2 clean sheets with England on top of 35 clean sheets in the past two EPL seasons for City!”
“Can't see England walking over teams BUT I can't see top teams breaking them down either. Two chances one goal like today gets results,” said Kompany.
Elsewhere, Mario Balotelli’s Italy were on the wrong end of a humbling 3-0 defeat against Russia. Mario was his usual lively self, carving out a couple of good chances but it wasn’t enough to give the Azzurri a confidence boost ahead of their Group C campaign.
It was better news for Nigel de Jong, who we profiled ahead of Euro 2012 this week, as his Dutch team put Northern Ireland to the sword.
Nigel played all 90 minutes for Holland who swept the Irish aside with a 6-0 win at the Amsterdam Arena, thanks to a brace each from Robin van Persie and Ibrahim Affelay and goals from Sneijder and Vlaar.