By Niall Clarke
- Goals from Wilshere and Rooney help England to 3-2 victory
- England keep 100% record in Euro 2016 Qualifying
- Rooney now one goal away from Sir Bobby Charlton’s record
Goals from Jack Wilshere and Wayne Rooney helped England defeat Slovenia 3-2, and maintain their perfect record in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
England controlled the first thirty minutes, having over 60% possession and creating big chances for Sterling and Rooney, both of which failed to convert.
However, it was the hosts that took the lead against the run of play. A poor throw in by Phil Jones was punished as Milivoje Novakovic got in behind the English centre backs to slot the ball past an on-rushing Joe Hart.
Jones was replaced by Adam Lallana at half time reportedly due to injury. The Liverpool man’s creativity began to show as England pressed for an equaliser at the start of the second half.
Lallana’s clever turn in the box caused a poor touch from a panicking Slovenian defence, which fell nicely to Jack Wilshere who rifled the ball home from 20 yards out. The left footed strike from the Arsenal man was his first for England in 28 appearances.
With a new sense of energy and urgency England pressed for a second goal. Two glorious chances fell to Rooney who blazed over both times.
Instead it would be Wilshere whose left foot fired England in to the lead with 18 minutes left on the clock. A quick counter attack was rounded off when Lallana’s quick back heel was followed by another 20 yard strike that left Samir Handanovic rooted to the spot.
Slovenia didn’t give up the fight however, and with just over five minutes left the match was once again level. Bojan Jokic’s cross was converted by the head of Nejc Pecnik who rose above Keiran Gibbs to nod the ball past a helpless Hart.
The match was level for roughly two minutes, as none other than Rooney capitalised on an error from the Slovenian backline to slot home with a first time effort.
Rooney’s goal would turn it to be the last of a thrilling second half for England, as they closed out the game for a 3-2 victory.
The Manchester United striker’s winning goal was his 48th for England, putting him level with Gary Linekar and one away from Bobby Charlton’s all-time scoring record for the country.
The victory also means that England remain one hundred percent in their Euro 2016 qualifying group, and are surely heading to France next summer.
It was certainly an improvement from last week’s drab 0-0 affair with Ireland. Wilshere’s performance will no doubt please Roy Hodgson, and his two goals capped off a good game from the Arsenal man.
Lallana’s introduction gave England much-needed life in the second half, and Raheem Sterling remained lively throughout.
Hodgson’s concerns will lie with the defence, with poor play from all four of them playing a part in Slovenia’s goals. Jones’ bad throw combined with poor defending from Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling lead to the first, whilst Gibbs should have done more to disturb Pecnik for the second.
All in all, England got the win they were looking for and will play San Marino next in September.