England defeated Norway in last night’s friendly with Norway thanks to a well taken penalty scored by their newly installed captain Wayne Rooney. After a bright start to the first half, mainly through neat link up play between the two Liverpool colleagues, Rayeem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, the match did little to suggest that England will be among the favourites for the European Championships in two years’ time.

Norway provided only a minimal goal threat themselves in that first 45 minutes, allowing England to have most of the possession without them being able to make the breakthrough against a resolute defence.

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Sturridge looked most likely to score, having one goalbound shot blocked and another one that he lifted slightly too high over the onrushing goalkeeper on to the roof of the net.

The second half was a much more even contest, with the Norwegians starting the half on the front foot and drawing an acrobatic save out of Joe Hart from a Joshua King header.

As the substitutions multiplied through the game, so too did the number of men taking the captain’s armband, as Rooney handed it over to Gary Cahill, and then on to Joe Hart. The introduction of new Arsenal man, Danny Wellbeck seemed to add some much needed impetus to England’s play and he may be in the manager’s thoughts for the next match.

The penalty that decided the game came courtesy of a dart into the box from man of the match Sterling that lured an ill timed challenge from Elabdellaoui.

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Up stepped Rooney to notch his 41st English goal in his ongoing quest to beat Bobby Charlton’s all time goalscoring record, slamming the ball powerfully into the side of the net. 

Rooney’s impact on the game other than the penalty was limited and a poll conducted by radio channel Talksport the morning after the game indicated that only 21% of listeners voted for him to start the game against the Swiss. Roy Hodgson seems likely to persevere with his new captain into the Euro qualifiers, but will not be oblivious to the doubts that seem to be evident as to whether Rooney and Sturridge can work in tandem as the strike partnership.

A less than half full Wembley was reflective of the English public’s general interest in the game and that was mirrored by the fact that nearly four million more viewers watched the Great British Bake Off programme on television than tuned in for the #Football. Indeed the crowd of just over 40,000 was the lowest since the new stadium opened in 2007.

Hodgson will hope for an improved display against the promising Swiss away next Monday in their first Euro qualifying match, knowing that a solid result there would set his team up well for the later games in the group against San Marino, Estonia, Slovenia and Lithuania.