Goals from Shane Long and Frank Lampard saw England and Ireland share the spoils, in an insignificant international friendly at Wembley. In truth it is a fair result, in a game that was devoid of real chances.
Prior to kick off the focus was on both sets of fans. The FA asked them to refrain from the sort of shameful behaviour that lead to the last game between the two sides been abandoned, due to crowd violence in 1991.
However, it was not an issue and both fans deserve credit for letting the football do the talking.
The game itself had a distinct end-of-season feeling, with neither team showing any real urgency to go forward and attack.
However, it was Ireland who were in control in the opening stages and when they took the lead through Shane Long on eleven minutes; it would be unfair to say it was undeserved.
The West Bromwich Albion striker climbed higher than Phil Jagielka and powered home Shamus Coleman’s inch perfect cross.
Ireland then continued to win the one on one battles, limiting England to half chances. However, in their first real attack, the Three Lions were level. Daniel Sturridge did well down the left, before playing the ball into Frank Lampard, who calmly slotted the ball home past Ireland keeper David Forde.
Whilst been entertaining, the remainder of the first half had no real chances to get the Wembley crowd excited.
Concerns were also raised when Daniel Sturridge, who was starting his first international game, limped off with an ankle injury inside half an hour.
Prior to kick off, a lot was made about Ashley Cole been made captain in honour of him playing over one hundred games for his country.
Three minutes into the second period he could have marked the occasion with his first international goal, but he managed to scoop the ball over the bar from six yards out, after latching onto a Wayne Rooney pass.
Other than that, the second half was a quiet affair with neither team really doing enough to win the game. Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had great chances late on, but could not find a way past the Ireland keeper.
Finishing off chances has one again proven to be an issue for England. Whilst this is not important in insignificant friendlies, it maybe more so when it comes to qualifying for the European Championships, particularly when qualification may go down to the wire.
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