Marcus Rashford scored penalty after Jack Grealish fouled in the box; Jordan Henderson missed second penalty when Dominic Calvert-Lewin was brought down; some fans booed as players took a knee before kick-off
Sunday 6 June 2021 19:25, UK
Marcus Rashford’s penalty completed England’s Euro 2020 preparations with a 1-0 win over Romania, as Jack Grealish starred at the Riverside Stadium.
Once again there were some boos as the players took a knee before kick-off and the home fans showed their displeasure at the break, too, after a lacklustre first half from Gareth Southgate’s much-changed side, who had hit the woodwork twice through Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jadon Sancho.
However, standout performer Grealish was tumbled in the penalty area moments after moving into the front three in the second half for Rashford to roll in the spot-kick (68), before debutant Sam Johnstone pulled off a stunning close-range save to ensure England made it two wins from two from their warm-up games.
Half-time sub Jordan Henderson – making his first appearance since mid-February – saw a penalty saved from a second spot-kick and Jude Bellingham was somehow denied when Vlad Chiriches deflected his header onto the bar late on but importantly there were no more major fitness concerns, following Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury against Austria.
Southgate – who is yet to name Alexander-Arnold’s replacement – is likely to ring the changes once again for next Sunday’s Euros opener against Croatia at Wembley, when the six Manchester City and Chelsea Champions League finalists, who were left out of the squad against Romania, will come into contention.
England player ratings
England Johnstone (7), Godfrey (5), White (7), Mings (4), Shaw (6), Phillips (6), Ward-Prowse (8), Grealish (8), Sancho (6), Rashford (7), Calvert-Lewin (6)
Subs: Henderson (5), Rice (6), Bellingham (7), Trippier (6), Watkins (5)
Man of the match: Jack Grealish
How England completed their warm-ups with a win…
Southgate had made nine changes from Wednesday’s win over Austria but, with Chelsea and Manchester City players still absent from the squad, the XI lining up against Romania was still some way off the side expected to start against Croatia when the Euros get under way next weekend.
However, Tyrone Mings, who is likely to be involved next Sunday, contributed to a sluggish start from the hosts, with an early mis-control allowing Romania a corner in the opening minutes, before Alexandru Cicaldau and Camora combined to get the better of Ben Godfrey to tee up Razvan Marin for a shot at Johnstone.
England team news
Gareth Southgate made nine changes to the side which beat Austria, with only Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings keeping their places. Sam Johnstone, Ben Godfrey and Ben White were handed their full debuts but no Chelsea or Man City player made the squad. Jordan Henderson was named on the bench.
- Match stats | How the teams lined up
England also took a while to get going at the other end, with Jadon Sancho, Grealish and Godfrey off target with ambitious efforts before Rashford rightly had a penalty appeal waved away when he went down too easily from Chiriches’ challenge.
England rattled the crossbar on 31 minutes, though, when Calvert-Lewin met James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick with an impressive header from 16 yards, and Sancho did the same eight minutes later after combining with Grealish, bending a curling shot onto the woodwork from just inside the box.
Johnstone was tested for a third time when Deian Sorescu ran off Luke Shaw to fire on target just before the break but England were back on the front foot at the start of the second half, with Calvert-Lewin somehow unable to turn home a superb Ward-Prowse wide free-kick.
Romania remained a threat, with Cicaldau getting in behind Ben White and shooting wide of the near post before Rashford shot wide of the far post after breaking forwards – but changes on 65 minutes for both teams led to the breakthrough.
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With underwhelming Sancho withdrawn, Grealish was pushed into the front three and immediately made an impact. Darting into the box from the left side, the Aston Villa ace was tripped by Romania sub Tiberiu Capusa and Rashford made no mistake from the spot, rolling in his 12th international goal.
Romania looked certain to come up with an instant reply when a loose ball in the England box came to Andrei Ivan six yards out but Johnstone pulled off a brilliant block to deny him.
Chiriches caught Grealish soon after with a stray boot to the back of the head but was even more careless when he bundled into Calvert-Lewin in the box to hand England a second penalty-kick. However, Henderson – who came on at half-time to build up his fitness after almost four months out of action – saw his effort comfortably stopped by goalkeeper Florin Nita.
Chiriches was more impressive with his block to deny Bellingham and, like Austria, Romania set up a late charge for an equaliser. But once again England held firm and can now turn their attentions to the serious business of Croatia in the Euros next week.
Opta stats – England extend winning run
- England registered their first win over Romania since the 1970 World Cup, ending a run of seven matches without a win (D4 L3).
- England haven’t lost their final match leading up to a major tournament (Euros & World Cup) ahead of any their last 19 tournaments (W15 D4), since losing 1-0 away at West Germany immediately prior to the 1968 Euros.
- England have won six consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since a run of seven wins in a row between September 2014 and March 2015 under Roy Hodgson.
- England have kept a clean sheet in 10 of their last 12 friendly matches, including in each of the last seven such fixtures in a row.
- Jordan Henderson is the second player to miss a penalty for England under Gareth Southgate after Harry Kane vs Kosovo in September 2019 – Henderson has never scored for England, with tonight his 59th cap.
- Marcus Rashford has scored five goals in his last six appearances for England, as many as he’d netted in his previous 24. Indeed, Rashford became the seventh Manchester United player to both start as captain and score in a game for England (also Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, Harry Maguire).
- Aged 23 years and 218 days, Marcus Rashford became the youngest player to start a match as England captain since Michael Owen (23y 179d) vs Slovakia in June 2003, which was also at the Riverside Stadium.
- England’s starting line-up against Romania did not contain any players from London based club sides – the first time this has happened since March 1980 versus Spain.
England’s Euro 2020 campaign gets underway against Croatia on Sunday, June 13; kick-off 2pm.
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