International Friendlies

England 1-0 Portugal

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Wembley
Bruno Alves challenge on Harry Kane
Portugal's Bruno Alves was sent off for a high challenge on Harry Kane

England concluded their preparations for Euro 2016 with a narrow win over 10-man Portugal in a disappointing friendly at Wembley.

Chris Smalling headed England's winner from substitute Raheem Sterling's cross with four minutes left as manager Roy Hodgson's side struggled to break down Portugal, who had Bruno Alves sent off for a wild, high challenge on Harry Kane in the 35th minute.

Only Kyle Walker distinguished himself although Sterling provided a lively cameo off the bench.

The main positive for Hodgson was that there were no fresh injury concerns as he now turns his attention to the Euro 2016 opener against Russia in Marseille on 11 June.

England's flawed system

Roy Hodgson says England not the finished article

England's team sheet looked packed with positive attacking intent - but once they lined up the system looked ill-suited to the team Hodgson had selected.

The biggest victim was Tottenham's Dele Alli, who looked so outstanding playing in an advanced central role in the 3-2 win against Germany in March, but was out of sorts and shunted to the margins by England's formation.

Alli was restricted to the left to allow Wayne Rooney to play through the middle, while Jamie Vardy and Kane, with 49 Premier League goals between them this season, barely got within sight of each other all night.

Vardy and Kane were seemingly handed the responsibility of providing width but instead they were stretched so far apart as to be rendered completely ineffective.

The pair have all the makings of a potent partnership but not when they are virtual strangers. It is something Hodgson must work on before England face Russia.

Can Rooney cut it as an England midfielder?

Rooney was as industrious as ever but the muddled manner in which this formation performed will again raise questions about his role in England's team.

Rooney, 30, brings much to the side but is he really a better bet in the number 10 role than Alli?

That is currently debatable, which leaves him fighting for his place as a striker, although once again the way England set up appeared to confuse the players as much as inspire them.

The Manchester United and England captain can still win games but will Hodgson be brave enough to leave him out when the situation demands it?

Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling's goal was his first in 25 caps for England

Sterling's confidence boost

Sterling had a difficult first season at Manchester City after his £49m summer move from Liverpool - but there are one or two signs his confidence may be returning.

He was lively in the win against Australia and set up Rooney's second goal, and here he delivered a perfect cross for Smalling to head England's late decider.

If Sterling's confidence-rebuilding process can continue over the next few weeks, then England could find a potent weapon restored at Euro 2016.

Player ratings

Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker put in a man-of-the-match performance with his enthusiasm to go forward from right-back

Joe Hart (goalkeeper) 5

One poor first-half clearance and had so little to do he barely merits a rating.

Man of the match: Kyle Walker (right-back) 8

Impressive going forward with several good crosses and one thunderous shot just wide.

Gary Cahill (centre-back) 5

Booked and a couple of careless moments but not really tested by a Portugal side lacking ambition.

Chris Smalling (centre-back) 6

Barely had anything to do on what was an easy night for him defensively then chipped in with that late winner.

Danny Rose (left-back) 6

Got forward a lot and did enough to suggest he will start against Russia. One good first-half interception.

Eric Dier (defensive midfielder) 5

Undistinguished performance in an undistinguished game, but not alone in that.

James Milner (midfielder) 5

Anonymous. Almost let Portugal in with one misplaced first-half pass.

Dele Alli (midfielder) 5

A waste of his ability in a left-sided role. He must play in the number 10 position against Russia.

Wayne Rooney (attacking midfielder) 5

Industrious but not at his best.

Jamie Vardy (forward) 5

Frustrating night playing too far away from Harry Kane. The pair should be operating as a partnership.

Harry Kane (forward) 6

Worked hard but the system never got the best out of him. And why is England's main striker taking corners?


Jack Wilshere (on for Milner, 66 minutes) 5

Quiet run out just to add to his fitness.

Raheem Sterling (on for Vardy, 66 minutes) 6

Excellent cameo and made Smalling's goal with a perfect cross.

Daniel Sturridge (on for Kane, 78 minutes), Adam Lallana (on for Rooney, 78 minutes), Jordan Henderson (on for Alli, 90 minutes)

No ratings.

Manager reaction

Roy Hodgson, speaking to BBC Sport: "It is often a struggle when you play against 10 men. We would have preferred 11 v 11, to flow more in attack and in defence.

"We were on the ball and trying to find the way through a packed and well-organised Portugal defence.

"I don't intend to tell you what I think of what worked and what didn't.

"The players worked hard to keep their shape and build attacks. It is our third win and one against a Portugal team ranked higher than us in the Fifa rankings, so no reason to be dissatisfied.

"Have I decided my best 11? That is difficult and will depend on the night.

"I am happy I have got 16/17 good players and happy with the options available to us."

Analysis - 'A worrying performance'

Former England defender Danny Mills on BBC Radio 5 live: "Too many square pegs in round holes. Three centre-forwards on the pitch going for the same ball, in the same space. I don't get it. I am not sure what system Roy is playing, you are taking away from all those players all their strengths.

"Look at the positives: no injuries, a clean sheet and the win.

"Unfortunately that does not tell the true story. That is a worrying performance. You are looking for the team to be confident, bright and sharp but that never materialised."

LISTEN: Mills wants to sacrifice Rooney for Kane and Alli - BBC Radio 5 live In Short

Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas on BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a tough night, as a player you want to get through unscathed and get on the plane to France.

"From Roy Hodgson's perspective, I am not sure if he has caused himself more problems with the Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Wayne Rooney situation.

"They have got the win. The players that came off the bench had a positive impact. I felt the team were more creative and enjoyable to watch with what we ended with."

The stats you need to know

  • Chris Smalling scored his first goal for England in his 25th appearance for the Three Lions.
  • England's last three goals have been scored by three different Manchester United players (Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling).
  • Bruno Alves was the first player to be sent off in an England game at Wembley since Steven Gerrard against Ukraine in September 2012.
  • England secured a victory over Portugal for the first time since April 1998, ending a run of five games without a win against them.
  • The Three Lions have conceded just three goals in their last 11 games at Wembley.
  • Portugal failed to muster a single shot on target in the 90 minutes.

My England starting XI

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Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Hart
  • 2Walker
  • 5CahillBooked at 43mins
  • 6Smalling
  • 3Rose
  • 4MilnerSubstituted forWilshereat 66'minutes
  • 17Dier
  • 20AlliSubstituted forHendersonat 90'minutes
  • 9KaneSubstituted forSturridgeat 78'minutes
  • 10RooneySubstituted forLallanaat 78'minutes
  • 11VardySubstituted forSterlingat 66'minutes


  • 7Sterling
  • 8Lallana
  • 12Clyne
  • 13Forster
  • 14Henderson
  • 15Sturridge
  • 16Stones
  • 18Wilshere
  • 19Barkley
  • 22Rashford
  • 23Heaton


Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Rui Patrício
  • 11Vieira de Freitas
  • 6CarvalhoSubstituted forMacedo Lopesat 90'minutes
  • 2Bruno AlvesBooked at 35mins
  • 19Eliseu
  • 10João MárioSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 45'minutes
  • 8João MoutinhoSubstituted forWilliam Carvalhoat 73'minutes
  • 13DaniloBooked at 76mins
  • 23Adrien SilvaSubstituted forRenato Sanchesat 72'minutes
  • 18Ferreira SilvaSubstituted forJosé Fonteat 38'minutes
  • 17Almeida da CunhaSubstituted forRicardo Quaresmaat 61'minutes


  • 4José Fonte
  • 5Guerreiro
  • 9Macedo Lopes
  • 12Lopes
  • 14William Carvalho
  • 15André Gomes
  • 16Renato Sanches
  • 20Ricardo Quaresma
  • 21Cédric Soares
  • 22Dos Reis Carvalho
Marco Guida

Match Stats

Home TeamEnglandAway TeamPortugal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, England 1, Portugal 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, England 1, Portugal 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. William Carvalho (Portugal) header from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ricardo Quaresma with a cross following a corner.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Portugal. Conceded by Danny Rose.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, England. Jordan Henderson replaces Dele Alli.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Portugal. Eder replaces Ricardo Carvalho.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Adam Lallana (England).

  8. Post update

    Eliseu (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! England 1, Portugal 0. Chris Smalling (England) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling with a cross following a set piece situation.

  10. Post update

    Dele Alli (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal).

  12. Post update

    Corner, England. Conceded by Ricardo Carvalho.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Renato Sanches.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Daniel Sturridge (England) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jack Wilshere.

  15. Post update

    Daniel Sturridge (England) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by André Gomes (Portugal).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, England. Adam Lallana replaces Wayne Rooney.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, England. Daniel Sturridge replaces Harry Kane.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Harry Kane (England) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  20. Booking

    Danilo Pereira (Portugal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 2nd June 2016

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