England v Côte d’Ivoire – International Friendly Match – Wembley Stadium – Report
England 3-0 Côte d’Ivoire
England completed a satisfying few days by easing to a 3-0 victory over Côte d’Ivoire in what proved to be a largely one-sided encounter at Wembley Stadium.
Gareth Southgate made ten changes to the side that had started the Three Lion’s narrow victory over Switzerland with only Arsenal defender, Ben White retaining his place.
Having started slowly against the Swiss, England provided an altogether upbeat opening with Declan Rice and Jack Grealish running into heavy traffic en route to Les Éléphants’ goal.
Jude Bellingham was denied by stopper, Badra Ali Sangare following a splendid exchange with skipper for the night, Raheem Stirling. Meanwhile, Ollie Watkins was a whisker away from a telling touch after the talented Borussia Dortmund man had fizzed across goal.
Grealish drilled directly at Ali Sangare as England continued to dominate. But when Sterling found room to cross low from the right, Aston Villa man, Watkins was on-hand to roll into an empty net.
Rice nodded into the gloves of Ali Sangare, while Bellingham – in the mood – curled narrowly wide. Les Éléphants evening went from bad to worse when Belgian referee, Erik Lambrechts brandished a second yellow card to former Tottenham man, Aurier following a coming together with Grealish.
England swiftly punished the visitors further. Sterling with the finishing touch after Watkins and Grealish had fashioned an opening.
VAR invited Mr Lambrechts to have a second glance after Bellingham had gone over. The initial penalty decision was overturned. Meanwhile, James Ward-Prowse was a fraction too high with a stinging strike from twenty yards as the home side looked to add to their advantage.
Eric Bailly passed up a glorious opportunity to halve the deficit, sending a close-range volley high over Nick Pope’s goal after Jean Michael Seri had picked him out. But this was long since gone as a contest. England continued to enjoy much of the ball, Phil Foden was wayward as Southgate’s men probed for a late third.
And they got it deep into stoppage-time. Tyrone Mings with a textbook header following a corner from the right.
England now turn their attention to the UEFA Nations League where they will face Hungary at the Puskas Arena on Saturday, June 4 (5pm)
England: Pope, Maguire, White (Walker-Peters 46′), Mings, Bellingham, Rice, Ward-Prowse (Gallagher 79′), Mitchell (Shaw 62′), Sterling (Foden 62′), Watkins (Kane 62′), Grealish (Smith Rowe 62′) Subs not used: Forster (GK), Henderson, Guéhi, Coady, Mount, Pickford (GK)
Goals: Ollie Watkins 31′, Raheem Sterling 45′, Tyrone Mings 90+3′
Côte d’Ivoire: Sangaré, Aurier, Bailly (Agbadou 46′), Deli, Cornet (Konan 64′), Kamara, Seri (Akouokou 90+3′), Kessié, Pépé (Boly 46′), Haller (Boli 86′), Gradel (Coulibaly 46′) Subs not used: Cissé, Diallo, Boly, Kouassi, Koné, Sangaré, Konaté
Booked: Aurier (foul), Seri (foul)
Sent Off: Aurier (foul – second yellow card)
Referee: Erik Lambrechts (Belgium)
Assistants: Jo de Weirdt and Kevin Monteny (both Belgium)
Fourth Official: Alexandre Boucauf (Belgium)