A landmark strike it might have been, but England’s 2,000th international goal is unlikely to live long in the memory. That said, Daniel Majstorovic’s own goal – the 43rd England have benefited from in their 139-year history – rewarded Fabio Capello’s gameplan which relied on his full-back and wing combinations getting to the bye-line and providing ammunition for lone centre forward Bobby Zamora. On the right flank Theo Walcott and Kyle Walker, impressive individually, displayed a level of understanding you would expect from a pair who had never played together before. But on the opposite flank Stewart Downing and Leighton Baines, similarly inexperienced, combined effectively on several occasions, and it was from the former’s cross that Gareth Barry glanced the ball onto Majstorovic’s head and past former Manchester City goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.
ROONEY HEARING DATE
ENGLAND striker Wayne Rooney will learn whether his three-game international suspension is to be reduced on 9 December when Uefa hear his appeal at their headquarters in Nyon. The 26-year-old received a red card for a petulant kick at Montenegro’s Miodrag Dzudovic during England’s final Euro 2012 qualifying match in Podgorica last month, which ended in a 2-2 draw. England manager Fabio Capello has already confirmed he will include Rooney in his 23-man squad despite the fact he will miss the entire group stage of the tournament should the European governing body uphold the suspension. It is yet to be determined whether Rooney will attend the hearing which is slated to take place 24 hours before Manchester United’s game with Wolves.
An attendance of 48,786, the lowest for a Three Lions fixture since Wembley re-opened in 2007, may suggest the appeal of Fabio Capello’s side is at an all-time low. In reality, however, last night’s figure, which eclipsed the previous low of 57,897 against Andorra in June 2009, compared favourably with the 35,000 fans who turned up for Italy’s 1-0 defeat against Uruguay at the 80,000 capacity Stadio Olimpico, while there were around 25,000 empty seats at the Stade de France as Les Bleus drew 0-0 with Belgium. A fixture against a Sweden side of limited appeal would no doubt still have attracted a full house at venues such as Portman Road and Pride Park, which hosted England matches while Wembley was being rebuilt, but contractual obligations mean England won’t be going on the road any time soon.