Published 06 June 2021 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team
England 1-0 Romania
Marcus Rashford’s penalty against Romania was enough to send England off to UEFA EURO 2020 with a win in their final pre-tournament game at the Riverside Stadium.
Just seven days before the Three Lions face Croatia at Wembley in their EURO opener, the Manchester United forward calmly slotted his second-half spot-kick home after Jack Grealish had been fouled in the box.
In a dominant showing, the home side could have had more after twice hitting the woodwork. But they were also tested at the back with a game Romania side carving out plenty of opportunities of their own.
After beating Austria in his side’s first EURO 2020 warm-up game last week, Gareth Southgate opted to give more game time to his wider squad as he made nine changes to the victorious outfit from Wednesday – with only Aston Villa pair Tyrone Mings and Grealish featuring from the off again.
West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was brought in for his first senior start while Manchester United duo Luke Shaw and Rashford returned – the latter given the captain’s armband for the first ever time in the absence of Harry Kane.
And standby players Ben Godfrey, Ben White and James Ward-Prowse were all given the chance to impress as they aim to take the spot of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold in Southgate’s squad.
It was the visiting side who began brightly though, seeing a good share of possession before Kalvin Phillips blasted England’s first attempt of the contest over the bar in the seventh minute.
Again though, Romania looked threatening and traded efforts with the hosts when Razvan Marin fired straight at Johnstone before Jadon Sancho jinked this way and that en route to skewing his shot over.
The aforementioned Grealish continued to press his starting credentials for England’s tournament opener with some neat touches and dribbles on the ball, but it was Dominic Calvert-Lewin who almost opened the scoring on the half-hour mark when his header from Ward-Prowse’s accurate free-kick struck the bar.
Minutes later England hit the woodwork again when Sancho thumped a curling effort with his right foot from outside the box, while Romania ended the half strongly with Deian Sorescu’s surging run resulting in a drive which Johnstone parried away before Nicolae Stanciu could only put the rebound over.
The second half was greeted by the welcome sight of Jordan Henderson, as he made his way off the bench to make his first appearance since injuring his groin for Liverpool in February – and there was almost more to shout about when another sumptuous Ward-Prowse delivery was very nearly turned in by Calvert-Lewin.
Sorescu’s volley past the post and Alexandru Cicaldau’s flashed shot wide continued to show the threat Romania possessed, but England were also coming close once again.
Ward-Prowse first fired another free-kick straight at keeper Florin Nita before a flowing Rashford run didn’t quite have the finish to match as he skewed wide.
Grealish’s strong performance was capped when his work on the ball forced Tiberiu Capusa into a clumsy challenge in the box which saw a penalty awarded. Rashford did the honours from the spot as he fired low into the bottom right-hand corner to give England the lead.
07 Jun 2021 6:36
Highlights: England 1-0 Romania
Watch the best of the action from the Riverside Stadium as England sign off for EURO 2020 with a win
But the hosts weren’t out of the woods yet, and Johnstone had to make a superb close-range stop to deny Andrei Ivan an equaliser by turning away his fierce close-range volley.
England could have then had a second when Vlad Chiriches’ high tackle on Calvert-Lewin saw referee Tiago Martins point to the spot again – but Henderson’s penalty was saved by Nita.
And substitute Jude Bellingham also came close to adding a second, with Chiriches somehow diverting his close-range effort wide, but in the end the hosts had to settle for just the one goal.
England (4-3-3): 1 Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion); 2 Ben Godfrey (Everton), 6 Ben White (Brighton & Hove Albion), 5 Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), 3 Luke Shaw (Manchester United); 10 Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), 4 Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), 8 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton); 11 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) (c), 9 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), 7 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Substitutes: 16 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) for Phillips 45’, 21 Declan Rice (West Ham United) for Ward-Prowse 65’, 19 Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) for Sancho 65’, 17 Jesse Lingard (West Ham United, loan from Manchester United) for Rashford 75’, 12 Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid) for Shaw 75’, 18 Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) for Calvert-Lewin 82’
Substitutes not used: 13 Jordan Pickford (Everton), 14 Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 20 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), 22 Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United), 23 Dean Henderson (Manchester United)
Goal: Rashford (pen) 68’
Romania (4-3-3): 1 Florin Nita; 24 Deian Sorescu, 5 Ionuț Nedelcearu, 6 Vlad Chiriches, 22 Camora; 23 Nicolae Stanciu, 18 Razvan Marin, 8 Alexandru Cicaldau; 9 Andrei Ivan, 7 Denis Alibec, 17 Georgian Paun
Substitutions: 2 Tiberiu Capusa for Sorescu 66’, 14 Ianis Hagi for Alibec 66’, 20 Constantin Budescu for Cicaldau 80’, 25 Alexandru Baluta for Paun 80’, 4 Adrian Rus for Nedelcearu 84’
Substitutes not used: 3 Cristian Ganea, 10 Alexandru Maxim, 11 Olimpiu Morutan, 12 Vlad Dragomir, 16 Alexandru Iacob, 21 Darius Olaru