Tue, Jun 03, 2008 - Page 19 News List

England cruise to win in the Caribbean

AFP , PORT OF SPAIN

Trinidad and Tobago's Khaleem Hyland, left, fights for the ball with England's Dean Ashton during their friendly match in Port of Spain on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Jermain Defoe's double strike helped England cruise to a 3-0 friendly victory against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday.

Fabio Capello must wish every match could be as easy as this stroll in the Caribbean sunshine at Port of Spain’s Hasely Crawford Stadium.

England flexed their muscles through Gareth Barry’s first international goal and a neat finish from Defoe within the opening 16 minutes.

But, while Defoe staked his first team claim with another goal in the second half, Capello can have learnt little else, because Trinidad were the most obliging of hosts. They allowed England the time and space to dominate without ever needing to raise the tempo much beyond walking pace.

Yet the prospect of flying thousands of kilometers for a meaningless game at the end of a grueling season could have produced a less than committed display from Capello’s team. So it is to the Italian’s credit that England gave the match their full attention for a comfortable victory.

The absence of seven Manchester United and Chelsea players rested by Capello gave England’s understudies a rare chance to shine.

Dean Ashton finally made his debut, two years after a broken ankle denied the West Ham United forward his first international appearance.

There was also a first start in 15 months for Tottenham Hotspur defender Jonathan Woodgate, while David Beckham took the armband for the 59th time.

In stifling heat approaching 32ºC, Trinidad’s hopes of a famous victory suffered an early blow. Kenwyne Jones chased a long ball over Rio Ferdinand and David James rushed out to tackle the Sunderland striker. James won the ball, but Jones crumpled into a heap and had to be stretchered off.

It took England 83 minutes to score against Trinidad when they last met in the 2006 World Cup. This time they broke the deadlock after just 12 minutes.

Stewart Downing chipped a pass to Wayne Bridge, whose cross was met by Barry with a close range volley that gave Clayton Ince no chance.

England doubled their advantage four minutes later. Downing’s pass sent Defoe clear down the left edge of the penalty area and, with no defender tracking back, he steered a low shot past Ince into the far corner.

Capello sent on Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Everton defender Phil Jagielka for their debuts at halftime.

It did not disrupt England’s dominance. They added a third goal in the 49th minute as David Bentley, on for Beckham, swung in a cross that was headed weakly out to Defoe, who tapped-in.

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