Fri, Feb 11, 2011 - Page 19 News List

England tops Denmark on Young goal

SHOWDOWNS:Denmark’s Christian Eriksen outshone England’s Jack Wilshere in the battle of the teens, while Argentina’s Lionel Messi outscored Cristiano Ronaldo

Agencies, COPENHAGEN and LONDON

Ashley Young’s debut international goal gave England their first victory in Denmark since 1978 after hitting back from a goal down in a friendly that see-sawed throughout.

Young came off the bench to supply a nerveless finish in the 68th minute and secure the win after Daniel Agger had headed Denmark into an early lead only for Darren Bent to equalize almost immediately.

The night was notable for two promising performances from young midfielders on opposite sides.

The 19-year-old Jack Wilshere put in an assured display in a deep midfield role for England, hinting of better things to come without really catching fire.

While Wilshere was assured, he was outshone by the 18-year-old Christian Eriksen, who came closest to a goal to crown an outstanding display when he slammed a shot off the foot of a post in the first half after good work by Nicklas Bendtner.

England, who face Wales in a Euro 2012 qualifier next month, made a ragged start and fell behind when Eriksen fired in a cross from the right and Agger flashed a glancing header past Joe Hart.

The Danes held the lead for just two minutes as England responded in style, with Theo Walcott robbing Simon Poulsen on the right and crossing to give Bent an easy finish.

In his first game as England captain, Frank Lampard had the ball in the net in the 41st minute, only to have the goal ruled out for offside.

England made three substitutions at the break and immediately got a grip on the Danes, dominating possession. The best of the chances fell to Bent, who forced Thomas Sorensen into a number of fine saves.

Dennis Rommedahl could have put Denmark back on top in the 64th minute, but fired straight at the keeper after the lively Eriksen had set him up with a cheeky backheel.

Instead, Young scored what proved to be England’s winner in the 68th minute, placing the ball past Sorensen after Glen Johnson had dispossessed Michael Krohn-Dehli in midfield.

MESSI PREVAILS

Lionel Messi won his personal duel with his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo lighting up Argentina’s 2-1 win over Portugal by making one goal and scoring the winner in a lively friendly international in Geneva on Wednesday.

Messi, FIFA’s World Player of the Year for the last two years, and Ronaldo, who won the award in 2008, were both on the scoresheet, but Ronaldo, who came off after an hour, ended up on the losing side as Messi gave the South Americans victory, scoring from the penalty spot after 89 minutes.

However, Carlos Tevez was not in the team to face Portugal.

New Argentina coach Sergio Batista was upset that the Manchester City striker had dropped out of the squad to play Brazil in November with an injury, Julio Grondona said in a radio interview.

“I think the absence of Tevez is because of the attitude he had when he didn’t come to play for the national team against Brazil in Qatar, and then played for his Manchester City club,” Grondona told Radio Pop. “The coaching staff did not like this attitude.”

The hugely entertaining match was played in Geneva, a little more than 24 hours after Europe’s most powerful clubs expressed their concerns at the amount of friendlies being played every year at their annual assembly in the Swiss city.

The managers of almost every important European club would have preferred this international date to have been dropped from the calendar, but more than 30,000 neutral Swiss braved a chilly night to watch one of more than 30 friendly matches which were being played around the world.

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