Cyprus Mail

Late Sturridge goal saves the day for dire England

An 82nd-minute header by Daniel Sturridge was the only moment of quality as a pedestrian England team squeezed a 1-0 win over Denmark at Wembley

An 82nd-minute header by Daniel Sturridge was the only moment of quality in a dire performance as a pedestrian England team squeezed a 1-0 win over Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday.

Sturridge, unmarked at the far post, nodded substitute Adam Lallana’s cross beyond the reach of Kasper Schmeichel who had a superb match in goal for Denmark.
England were generally uninspiring against opposition who have failed to reach the World Cup in Brazil in June.
There were, however, promising displays from young Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and teenage Southampton left back Luke Shaw.

Elsewhere, casting aside trouble at home, Ukraine comfortably beat the United States 2-0 in a friendly held in Larnaca, Cyprus against the backdrop of turmoil at home and tensions with Russia.

Andriy Yarmolenko opened the scoring after 12 minutes when Yevhen Konoplyanka drifted a beautiful ball over the defence for Denys Harmash to beat the offside trap.
U.S. keeper Tim Howard saved the one-on-one but the rebound came back to Harmash who calmly squared it to Yarmolenko who had the simple task of slotting it into the open goal.
Ukraine remained on the front foot and correctly had a goal disallowed seven minutes later when centre-back Oleksandr Kucher squared the ball to Yarmolenko who again had the simple task of passing it into the net.

Ukraine’s pressing was effective and the U.S. struggled to get near Andriy Pyatov’s goal with Clint Dempsey’s blocked shot being the closest Jurgen Klinsmann’s men came in the first 20 minutes.
Second-half substitute Marko Devic made a quick impact, doubling Ukraine’s lead at the second attempt after Howard had saved the Rubin Kazan forward’s first effort when put through on goal.

The game, scheduled to played in Kharkiv, was moved to the GSP Stadium due to the unstable political situation in Ukraine.

A razor-sharp Karim Benzema meanwhile led France to a stylish 2-0 home victory over fellow World Cup finalists the Netherlands.
The French were greatly helped by the miserable performance of the visitors’ defence as the Dutch back four were repeatedly outpaced on a spring-like Parisian night.

In-form Benzema opened the scoring with a fierce half volley in the 32nd minute before Blaise Matuidi doubled the tally with a spectacular volley four minutes before the break.

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