Amsterdam, Mar 24 (AFP) Jesse Lingard scored his first England goal as a reshaped side beat the Netherlands 1-0 in an Amsterdam friendly.
This was England’s last away match before they travel to Russia for this year’s World Cup finals and they were rewarded with a well-deserved win against a Dutch side who will be one of the major absentees from the showpiece tournament.
The result gave England their first win over the Netherlands since manager Gareth Southgate was a member of the side that triumphed 4-1 at Wembley during Euro 96.
It also condemned Dutch great Ronald Koeman to defeat in his first match as manager of the Oranje.
Several England players advanced their case for World Cup selection, with just next week’s friendly at home to Italy to come before Southgate picks his squad.
“It was a good test for us, we came away from home and controlled the game,” Southgate told ITV Sport.
– ‘Delighted for Jesse’ –
Turning to Lingard, he added: “I’m delighted for Jesse, he’s a player we’ve worked with for three or four years from the Under-21s and this year he is starting to finish the chances.” Meanwhile former Southampton and Everton manager Koeman said: “Defensively we played quite well, but didn’t create many chances. And we made some mistakes as well.” Shortly after England were denied what seemed a clear penalty, Manchester United midfielder Lingard scored the only goal of the game in the 59th minute.
It was a goal that had been coming, with England’s midfield starting to find their onrushing forwards with through balls early in the second half.
England faced early disruption when Liverpool’s Joe Gomez went off injured just minutes into the game, his place taken by Harry Maguire.
Everton’s Jordan Pickford, bidding to be England’s first-choice goalkeeper, dealt easily with Matthijs de Ligt’s shot before coming quickly off his line to deny Quincy Promes.
“Jordan played excellently. We saw all the attributes he has, he was tidy with his feet and good with decision-making,” said Southgate.
Most of the action was at the other end, England retaining possession neatly only for much of their play to lack a final ball of consequence, although captain Jordan Henderson headed wide, while Raheem Sterling was thwarted by advancing goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.
In the second half, England thought they should have had a penalty when Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford went down in the box under challenge from De Ligt and Zoet.
But it was his Old Trafford team-mate who finally broke the deadlock just shy of the hour-mark when Lingard scored with a first-time finish that Zoet got a hand to, but could not stop, following a deflected cross from Danny Rose.
Several substitutions by both managers reduced the fluency of the game, with Memphis Depay seeing a free-kick saved comfortably by Pickford while Kieran Trippier had a shot blocked at the other end.
Away from the pitch there were worrying scenes, with some 90 England fans arrested by Amsterdam police ahead of the game.
Videos posted online showed crowds of English fans packing the narrow streets and bridges in the canal city.
“The number of arrests of England supporters has now climbed to close to 90,” the Amsterdam police said in a tweet. The men were mainly accused of disrupting public order.
One video on the Dutch public broadcaster NOS showed police wielding truncheons, and backed by horseback officers, wading into the crowds to restore order in the city’s Red Light district.
In another video, hordes of fans were seen tossing a bike off a bridge onto a passing canal boat. (AFP) AH AH
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.