Cole Double Spares England’s Blushes

Andorra 0 England 2

Two goals in nine minutes from substitute Joe Cole rescued Fabio Capello’s England from an embarrassing result against Andorra and ensured England got off to a winning start in Group 6.

Manager Fabio Capello surprised many people with his starting lineup before the game. Out went David Beckham, Wes Brown and Joe Cole and in came Glen Johnson, Theo Walcott and Stewart Downing with Joleon Lescott taking the injured Rio Ferdinand’s place at the back.

England certainly started brightly and in particular Theo Walcott in his first start for the senior side. Within two minutes he had already carved out a couple of opportunities, his pace and trickery causing the home side all sorts of problems.

With only seconds on the clock the Arsenal youngster raced down the right before crossing for Lampard whose deflected shot almost fell kindly for Defoe, however goalkeeper Koldo managed to snatch the ball off the Portsmouth striker’s toe.

A minute later and Walcott had his own chance. Some neat work down the right saw Rooney play the young Gunner in but he lifted his shot over both the goalkeeper and the crossbar.

Walcott then turned provider as he continued to wreak havoc down the right hand side. An incisive pass from Lampard found Walcott on the edge of his box and his excellent first time touch found Rooney perfectly but the Manchester United striker conspired to fire a shot over the bar when he really ought to have done better.

Yet strangely that was about as good as the first half got and whilst England dominated possession they struggled to create any chances and desperately lacked any form of penetration or creativity.

As the half proceeded and the crowd quietened, it was no surprise to hear the boos begin with half time still some ten minutes away. When the interval finally arrived, and with the game still scoreless, and England looking aimless and bereft of ideas, the derision around the Olympic Stadium was resounding.

Capello responded by replacing Downing and Defoe with Joe Cole and Emile Heskey and within three minutes Cole had volleyed England ahead. A Lampard free kick was touched on by Lescott and Cole finished sweetly to finally give the visitors the lead.

Ten minutes later and Cole had his, and England’s second of the match. A slide rule pass from Rooney on the edge of the box sent the Chelsea man through and he comfortably slotted the ball underneath the advancing Koldo.

As the boos turned to cheers the England fans were clearly expecting the floodgates to open, especially with Andorra offering nothing in the way of an attacking force. However, the deluge failed to occur and instead the game simply fizzled out.

In fact the greatest cheer of the evening was when David Beckham appeared as a substitute with ten minutes to go, replacing Frank Lampard.

While Capello will point to a victory and three points comfortably gained, the trip to Zagreb on Wednesday will provide a far sterner challenge and England will need to improve considerably if they are to return home with any kind of result.

Andorra: Koldo, Ayala, Txema, Sonejee, Antoni Lima, Ildefons Lima, Pujol (Vales, 90), Vieira, Silva (Toscano, 66), Jimenez, Andorra.

England: James, Johnson, Lescott, Terry, Ashley Cole, Walcott, Barry, Lampard, Downing (J. Cole, 46), Rooney, Defoe (Heskey, 46).

0-2 England (Joe Cole, 55)
0-1 England (Joe Cole, 46)

48′ F. Silva (yellow card)

49′ [0 - 1] J. Cole

52′ M. Vieira (yellow card)

55′ [0 - 2] J. Cole

57′ A. Lima (yellow card)
Cole Double Spares England’s Blushes Reviewed by admin Ucop on 9:18 PM Rating: 5

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