Slovakia 0-1 England
Stadion Antona Malatinskeho
For 94 minutes, it was as if Roy Hodgson had mentally drained the England players. It was all possession, possession, possession, without causing Slovakia many problems. Then up popped Adam Lallana, one of England's most consistent performers in recent times. He deserved his first international goal which came in the dying embers of the game.
Prior to that, England had been quite pedestrian. Big Sam cannot be expected to have made a real mark on the team so soon into his rein. A win was the important thing.
In the first half, Raheem Sterling looked bright and confident, if unspectacular. Wayne Rooney played several roles well and Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson chaperoned the back four without having a great deal to do. Adam Lallana buzzed about everywhere, showing some neat touches and the back four, especially John Stones, looked unflushed.
However, spare a thought for Harry Kane. Playing as a target man isn't his cup of tea and isn't what he does for his club, Spurs. Large parts of the game past his by before he was replaced by Daniel Sturridge who offered more industry.
Former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel was given his marching orders in the second half, but should really have been dismissed long before that. Slovakia being reduced to ten men seemed to add pressure on England.
It didn't seem like the goal would come and the teams would have to share a goalless draw like they did in France back in June. But England's persistence finally paid off as Lallana smashed the ball home in the 95th minute. It was just what England deserved.
Man of the match - Adam Lallana.
Written by Rob Wildey.
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