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England vs Australia

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well.

Just 31 days on from the last international break, England were in action on the Wembley pitch hosting Australia in a international friendly.

A little over four weeks ago England faced Ukraine and Scotland. The first was a EURO qualifier in which the teams cancelled each other out to see it finish 1-1. The second was a 150th Anniversary Heritage match, this ended much better for the travelling side winning 3-1 with Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane on the scoresheet.

Today’s opponents were Graham Arnold’s Australia, the Socceroo’s travelled all the way from the other side of the world for this fixture. Much like England they had a game a little over four weeks ago, though it was a friendly against Mexico and ended 2-2 showing their scoring capabilities. Though before that they suffered back to back loses against Argentina and Ecuador, with their last winning being a 3-1 win against Ecuador in the reverse fixture.

Gareth Southgate named a very similar squad to September with the notable differences being John Stones, Jarrod Bowen and Ollie Watkins being included instead of the injured Ben Chilwell, Eberechi Eze and Callum Wilson. Despite his call up Bukayo Saka missed out on the game due to his recent injury being worse than expected. With this being a friendly Southgate named a team including players that may not normally start this consisted of Sam Johnstone, Trent Alexander-Arnold, debutant Levi Colwill, Conor Callagher, Lewis Dunk, Fikayo Tomori, Jack Grealish, Jordan Henderson as captain, Ollie Watkins, James Maddison, and Jarrod Bowen. On the bench was Eddie Nketiah who was hoping to make his senior debut!

Ollie Watkins scored the only goal in England’s win over Australia

England started the match slowly, with Australia on the front foot. The Socceroo’s had much of the ball looking confident in attack. Not only were they strong in attack they also started strong at the back with goalkeeper Mat Ryan playing high and intercepting many of England’s balls in behind.

Jarrod Bowen started brightly launching England on their first attack. The West Ham attacker played a neat ball in behind to Connor Gallager, the midfielder got his head up spotting and picking out Jordan Hendersen diving towards goal, though the captain was unable to get on the end of the ball.

Eleven minutes into the game the visitors produced the best chance of the game. Keanu Baccus’ effort from outside the box deflected off Fikayo Tomori’s head forcing a super diving save from Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone.

Australia continued to grow in confidence with the next chance coming from Mitchell Duke, the striker volleyed a powerful shot just wide of the post as England again failed to eliminate the threat.

Ollie Watkins - and most in attendance – thought he put his team ahead on the 28th minute. England had a positive piece of play starting at the back with debutant Levi Colwell, the home side worked up the field at a quick pace with James Maddison slipping Watkins in behind. The striker did well to take the ball in his stride and around the keeper before sending the ball goalwards, it travelled in slow motion as we waited to see if it would cross the line, unfortunately for him he was denied by a mixture of the far post and the back tracking Australian defender.

Australia had another chance just before half time, Baccus received a long ball up field and found his teammate Ryan Strain in space in the box, the wingbacks shot beat Johnstone but was denied by Lewis Dunk.

England began the second half a lot better with Bowen and Maddison linking up down the right side.

Their bright start paid off with England finding the opener on the 56th minute mark. Trent Alexander-Arnold played a fantastic long ball over to Jack Grealish in the box, the Manchester City winger whipped the ball across the face of box serving it on a plate for the in-sliding Watkins. This goal meant that Watkins has scored in both of his starts for England.

Alexander-Arnold tried to switch his playmaker role to scorer, but his shot after coming inside was deflected wide.

England awarded another debut to the under 21’s top goal scorer, Eddie Nketiah, who became the 1275th person to represent England, one behind Colwell.

Australia continued to hunt for the equaliser and came very close through Connor Metcalfe’s free header from a corner, but his shot went just wide of the post and England left with the win.

I have now had two back to back very boring games, but at least this game ended in a win! The match on Tuesday against Italy will have a more regular starting 11, so hopefully it has a higher tempo and is a better game. I think Levi Colwell had a good debut, for 20 years old he had the confidence to run with the ball and try start England on counterattacks. James Maddison and Ollie Watkins were England’s biggest threats, with the latter deservedly getting on the scoresheet. Sam Johnstone also impressed making a crucial save early on. Unfortunately Jordan Henderson was one of the weak links and gave the ball away so many times!

Like I previously mentioned England are back in action on Tuesday against Italy in a EURO qualifier, I am going to the game so look out for my post!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx


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