Under 21 International: England V Portugal
14 Nov 2009
Under 21 International
England 1 - 0 Portugal
Danny Rose was England's hero at Wembley as his first half strike ensured a Three Lions win over Portugal in their Euro 2011 qualifier.
Collecting a knock-down from Andy Carroll, Rose finished well to seal the victory and leave England three points of the top with a game in hand over Group Nine leaders Greece.
Heavy rain and howling winds greeted the teams onto the pitch - similar conditions to the Euro 2009 qualifier between these two sides 14 months earlier. England won that day 2-0, and today Rose's goal made sure the spirits of just short of 34,000 fans weren't dampened.
Pearce made a few enforced changes to his starting eleven, with Fulham's Chris Smalling making his first start in defence with Micah Richards, while Kieran Gibbs moved into midfield with Ryan Bertrand slotting in at left back.
Andy Carroll, operating as the lone centre forward, almost got on the end of Rose's tenth-minute cross from the left, but the ball skidded away from the Newcastle United forward inside the six yard box.
Rose also came close to putting England in front after great work from Tom Cleverley. Manchester United's on-loan midfielder beat his marker, Fabio Faria, inside the box before clipping a cross to the far post. Rose climbed, but just couldn't get over the ball and from a yard out it ricocheted off the bar and away.
Moments later Portugal had a great chance themselves. As the heavens began to open yet again, Bruno Pereirinha, in his second appearance at Wembleyfor the Portugese Under 21s, crossed from the right. Yazalde, in space between Richards and Smalling, diverted goalwards but couldn't prevent it from going over the bar.
Again the visitors threatened, this time down the left, and it was Ukra, losing Gibbs and Macienne, to cross low, but Scott Loach was down well to gather.
For England, the strong presence of Carroll was the main outlet on attack. A ball hoisted toward was headed on target, but without the necessary power. However, it was a similar high pass in from Mancienne in the 40th minute that paved the way for England's opening goal.
Carroll, with two defenders in close attendance, out-muscled his markers to nod down to the unmarked Rose ten yards out. The Peterborough loanee was cool and tucked the ball away past Hugo Ventura to put England in front.
Rose was then switched into the centre of midfield by Pearce at the break, with Kieran Gibbs going to the left as the rain stopped.
Carroll was again picked out from a Cleverley corner six minutes later, but despite his leap, he couldn't guide it towards Ventura's goal. Fabio Faria came close for Portugal , with a looping header from an out swinging corner, but Loach watched it as it drifted safely over.
The goalscorer and Man Of The Match made way for Jack Cork with 14 minutes left, providing a more defensive cover, while Pearce also brought on Kyle Naughton in place of Mancienne at right back.
But Cork's duties didn't stop him joining up in attack and he had an attempt from just outside the box with five minutes remaining, but it was easilt collected by Ventura. Portugese substitute, Joao Aurelio, had a similar go at the other end, which was equally routine for Loach.
Dan Gosling came on in added time for his debut, and second substitute appeaerance at Wembley following The FA Cup final in May, as England ran down the clock to claim a valuable three points and edge themselves nearer their Euro 2011 aim.
Portugal return home from Wembley disappointed again, but could really do England a favour when they take on Group Nine leaders Greece midweek, while Pearce's team head to Lithuania.