Published 29 March 2022 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team
England see off Cote d'Ivoire with comfortable victory
- O. Watkins (30′)
- R. Sterling (45′)
- T. Mings (93′)
MEN'S INTERNATIONAL MATCH Friendlies 1
Tuesday 29 March, 07:45 PM Wembley Stadium
HT: 2 - 0
- S. Aurier (32′)
- J. Seri (33′)
- S. Aurier (40′)
Goals from Ollie Watkins, Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings help Three Lions to comprehensive win at Wembley over Cote d'Ivoire
Raheem Sterling delivered a captain’s performance as he scored one and set up another to help England to a comfortable 3-0 win over ten-man Cote d’Ivoire at Wembley.
The Manchester City forward proved the difference in the first ever meeting between the two sides after shaking off an early injury scare on the night he wore the armband in place of regular skipper Harry Kane.
Sterling’s crafty work on the left allowed him to assist Ollie Watkins after 30 minutes, before Cote d’Ivoire lost a man when captain Serge Aurier was booked twice in eight minutes.
And England took full advantage when Sterling slotted home on the stroke of half time, but they had to wait until stoppage time at the end of the second half for Tyrone Mings to add some deserved gloss to the scoreline with a header.
Manager Gareth Southgate made ten changes from the 2-1 win over Switzerland on Saturday, with only defender Ben White keeping his place in the starting line-up but moving to right-back as Tyrick Mitchell and Watkins were both handed their first starts for the Three Lions.
Jude Bellingham came close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute only for a combination of goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangaré and the post to deny the Borussia Dortmund star after he received the ball from Jack Grealish and played a neat one-two with Sterling.
The rebound fell kindly for England and the ball came back into the Cote d’Ivoire box, but Watkins was unable to make contact with his outstretched leg with the goal gaping.
But the Aston Villa forward made no mistake after half-an-hour, netting on his full debut after Sterling’s dogged wing play allowed him to tee up his teammate with the simplest of tap-ins to reward England’s dominance.
Rice came close to doubling the lead just a few minutes later but his header from Ward-Prowse’s free-kick was safely gathered by Sangaré.
Grealish’s clever decoy run opened up space for Bellingham and the 18-year-old let fly with a curling effort that just drifted past the far post.
Immediately after that, having been booked shortly after the half-hour mark for a foul, Cote d’Ivoire captain Aurier was then shown a red card after receiving a second yellow for dissent five minutes before half time.
And having made the first, Sterling scored the second against ten-men on the cusp of the break when his initial left-footed shot was well parried by Sangare before Grealish’s cut-back on the half-volley allowed his Manchester City to slide home his 18th England goal.
Southgate replaced White with Kyle Walker-Peters at the interval before a breathless start to the half saw England awarded a penalty inside the first minute.
Bellingham was felled inside the box and referee Erik Lambrechts initially pointed to the spot but a VAR check showed Fousseny Coulibaly, who himself had only just come on, played the ball first.
With under 30 minutes to go, Southgate rang the changes with Sterling earning a well-deserved rest and regular captain Kane one of those coming off the bench as the hosts continued to throw numbers forward in attack.
The Cote d’Ivoire defence sat off and Ward-Prowse very nearly made them pay when his dipping long-range shot just flew over the top of the bar from 30 yards out in the 69th minute.
Against the run of play, Simon Deli had the chance to pull a goal back for the visitors but blazed over after finding space inside the box.
Both sides rang more changes as the game lost some of its earlier intensity before Mings headed home from a corner with virtually the last touch of the game to finally reward England’s attacking endeavour in the second half.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Nick Pope (Burnley); 2 Ben White (Arsenal), 5 Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), 6 Harry Maguire (Manchester United) 3 Tyrick Mitchell (Crystal Palace); 8 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), 4 Declan Rice (West Ham); 7 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, captain), 10 Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), 11 Jack Grealish (Manchester City); 9 Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
Substitutes: 17 Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton) for White 45’, 12 Luke Shaw (Manchester United) for Mitchell 62’, 18 Phil Foden (Manchester City) for Sterling 62’, 23 Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal) for Grealish 62’, 20 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) for Watkins 62’, 21 Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace, on loan from Chelsea) for Ward-Prowse 80’
Substitutes not used: 13 Fraser Forster (Southampton), 14 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 15 Marc Guéhi (Crystal Palace), 16 Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 19 Mason Mount (Chelsea), 22 Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Goals: Watkins 30’, Sterling 45’, Mings 90+3’