Welcome to the World of Beckham blog, we aim to keep you up to date with developments in the career of David Beckham a footballer from the UK who has played for some of the top teams in the world.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

England 2 Japan 1

On the road to South Africa, England take on Japan in their high altitude camp in Austria.
England started the first half with a look of a team that could put pressure on the Japanese, only to be stunned by a goal scored by Tulio from a corner after just 6 minutes. Japan had a second chance on goal just three minutes later as England resumed their habitual nervy look in defence. The one exciting moment of the half for England fans was Rooney putting the ball on a plate for Lennon (playing on the left), who failed to beat the keeper with his left foot.
Whatever England tried, Japan were there waiting for them hassling them off the ball and foiling every plan - in fairness there was very little invention from a ponderous England side. On 30 minutes, Bent got on the end of a lofted ball from Ferdinand, but headed wide, a little later Rooney improvised a back-heel from a Huddlestone shot that narrowly missed the target - these were brief glimpses of hope in a very disappointing half that finished with a one-goal advantage to Japan.
There were five changes and a new shape from England for the second half and just two minutes in saw the first attempt on goal from Gerrard. Ten minutes later Wright-Phillips scampered down the left hand side riding three tackles passing to Lampard who was brought down for a free kick. The kick gave England a penalty as not one but two players in the defensive wall handled the ball. Lampard took the spot-kick which was saved by the Japanese reserve keeper.
The frustration was visible as Rooney began to lose his self-control a little. Gerrard put a ball through the middle for Rooney leaving him one-on-one with the keeper, but the flag was up (mistakenly) for offside. Good shot from distance from Rooney on 63 mins, but not far enough away from the keeper. A few minutes later, Hart made a vital instinctive save which kept England in the game. More good work from Rooney as his next shot is parried away on 68 mins, but it was Joe Cole's cross from the right on 71 minutes that ended up in the net courtesy of Tulio's head. Just 10 minutes later, an Ashley Cole cross was again turned into the net by another Japanese player. Heskey also spurned a chance to get on the score sheet in the final minutes from a nicely whipped cross from Gerrard.
2-1 without an England player adding to his goal tally is fairly extraordinary, but this is a game where Frank Lampard missed a penalty, and Rooney had a bad off-side against him which would surely have otherwise resulted in an England goal.
This was one of those bad dress rehearsals that will hopefully lead to a decent performance at the World Cup - one more warm-up to go before meeting the USA - the 23 player final squad gets announced on Tuesday.

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