England step up Euro preparations with a win

England v Bosnia & Herzegovina – International Friendly – St James Park, Newcastle – Friendly

England 3-0 Bosnia & Herzegovina

With their opening Euro 2024 opener against Serbia just under two weeks away, a penalty from Cole Palmer – on his first international start – and late goals by Trent Alexander-Arnold & Harry Kane saw England through to a 3-0 victory over Bosnia & Herzegovina at St James’ Park, Newcastle.

In what was the first-ever meeting between the two sides, the Three Lions struggled to find their rhythm for extended periods of the game and they were forced to wait until the sixtieth minute before finally breaking the deadlock when after Ermin Bicakcic pulled Ezri Konsa’s shirt at a corner, Palmer fired home the resultant spot-kick to make it 1-0.

With Gareth Southgate making a raft of changes following the goal, Adam Wharton of Crystal Palace and Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite were introduced to earn their first caps. Fellow sub-Kane fashioned a good opportunity for himself just after coming on, heading Konsa’s cross just inches wide of the far post.

Kane’s fierce drive then forced the best save of the night from keeper Nikola Vasilj before with ten minutes remaining, Alexander-Arnold’s precise cross-field pass released Jack Grealish to find James Maddison – only for the Spurs man to slip his effort wide of the upright.

Five minutes before the end, Alexander-Arnold capped off an outstanding individual performance by volleying Grealish’s pinpoint cross into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

Kane rounded off the evening with England’s third in the eighty-ninth minute when after the Bosnian defence had failed to adequately clear their lines, the Bayern Munich striker scrambled the ball home from close range to put the result completely beyond doubt for the Three Lions.

In their final warm-up match before Euro 2024, England welcome Iceland to Wembley on Friday (7.45pm).

Coach Southgate spoke to Channel 4 after the game:

“Physically, it was a good workout.

“We just had to be patient. We felt that in the end, we would create the chances and that’s how it turned out. The scoreline reflected the performance. I think scoring more was inevitable. We had a lot of fresh players to bring on as well. There weren’t a lot of caps in the team that started so there was always a chance there would be a sticky start.”

Southgate said that he was particularly pleased with the performances of Palmer and Ebere Eze, who impressed in the first half.

“Ebere has got a lovely way in which he goes past people through the centre of the pitch. He’s got power, so I’m happy with what he did.

“I thought Cole a couple of times was trying to be too precise to get the touch to open up the shot and maybe if he’d got his shot away a little earlier a couple of times, he could have had more himself.”

“Our plan [with Kane] today was that he would play for half an hour. He will start on Friday and he looks in decent shape.

“The great thing is we have got through the last few days with no big problems. That’s really important, we needed to get through these few matches.

“I may have a few more selection headaches after tonight but that’s a good thing. I would rather we had good performances that caused you to think than poor performances. There were lots of individual things I was really pleased with.”

England: Pickford, Konsa (Gomez 73’) Dunk, Guehi (Branthwaite 62‘) Trippier (Capt) (Wharton 62’) Gallagher, Alexander-Arnold, Bowen, Palmer (Maddison 61’) Eze (Grealish 63’) Watkins (Kane 61’) Subs not used: Ramsdale, Quansah, Rice, Toney, Jones, Henderson, Trafford

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Vasilj, Ahmedhodzic (Muharemovic 82’) Katic, Radeljic (Hadzikadunic 74’) Bicakcic (Mujakic 74’) Hajradinovic, Saric (Huseinbasic 63’) Tahirovic, Gazibegovic, Gigovic (Burnic 82’) Demirovic (Capt.) (Tabakovic 74’) Subs not used: Hadzikic, Dzeko, Sosic, Piric.

Referee: Rohit Saggi

Assistants: Morten Jensen and Anders Olav Dale

Fourth Official: Sandi Putros

VAR: Mads Kristoffersen

Assistant VAR: Morten Krogh

Attendance: 50,064