England v Nigeria: what we learned

England v Nigeria: what we learned
Copyright REUTERS
Copyright REUTERS
By Jordan Jones
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England played a friendly against Nigeria before jetting off to the World Cup in Russia.


England got off to a victorious start in the first of two pre-World Cup friendlies as they beat Nigeria 2-1. Gareth Southgate's English football team is also scheduled to play against Costa Rica at Leeds' football stadium in five days time.

Nigeria like England has qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they will play Croatia, Iceland, and Argentina.

Here are our five key takeaways:

England dealt with Nigeria's lightning pace

Players such as Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Ihenacho, Odion Ighalo and Victor Moses have a blistering pace, but England's full-backs did their job in containing the Nigerian pressure.

Nigeria gave England a good run-out

They may not have been at the races in the first half, but certainly in the second half, after Gernot Rohr made some changes, they forced England to defend.

Sterling quiet

Raheem Sterling has been in the spotlight in the United Kingdom for his recent gun tattoo but seemed unphased by it all. The Manchester City forward was unlucky not to score in the first half and looked dangerous on the counter-attack. However, he was booked for a dive.

Set-pieces key for England

England may possess technical players like Alli, Lingard, and Sterling who are comfortable with the ball, but Gary Cahill's early header showed that England has a bit of physicality about themselves.

Nigeria fans not a fan of Alli

The Super Eagle fans were unforgiving when Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli received the ball, constantly booing him. Alli who qualifies for Nigeria opted to play for England, despite spending some of his younger years in Nigeria and having a Nigerian Father.

Second halftime update

Uzoho parried Kieran Trippier's free-kick with a reactive save. From the resulting corner, Chelsea's Gary Cahill opened the scoring for the home side, beating John Obi Mikel in the air to header England into the lead.

Captain Harry Kane doubled the Three Lions' advantage with a strike near half-time with a low driven shot, which Uzoho should have saved. The Super Eagles were fruitless in front of goal in the first half.

Nigeria made four changes at the breach, which inspired them to their first and only goal. Alex Iwobi the scorer, slotted his effort past Jordan Pickford after Ighalo had initially hit the post. This was the first goal Jordan Pickford had conceded at senior level for England.

Raheem Sterling had a quiet game but received a yellow card for a dive in the second half.

England now travels to Elland Road to host fellow World Cup finalists Costa Rica, before jetting off to Russia.


First halftime update

England opened the scoring early on, after Nigeria went a man light, following Leon Balogun's clash of heads. Kieran Tripper forced Francis Uzoho into the save, tipping it behind for a corner. Chelsea man Gary Cahill rose highest and headered the Lions in front.

Gareth Southgate's men were looking dangerous from set pieces and almost doubled their lead, but Uzoho denied Eric Dier with a point-blank save.

Up the other end, Cahill showed his defensive abilities when denied Odion Ighalo with a well-timed block.

Jesse Lingard went close to doubling their lead, after a neat passing movement, but was denied at a tight angle by Uzoho.

Nigeria was presented with some half-chances, but only Victor Moses could test Jordan Pickford, with two shots from a wide angle, as Pickford saved comfortably.


Captain Harry Kane doubled England's lead as he picked up a loose ball and leashed it past Nigeria goalkeeper Uzoho.

You can follow live updates here on Euronews:

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