Rooney leads England comeback against Slovenia
Saturday, November 15, 2014
England 3-1 Slovenia
England come from behind with 100-cap Wayne Rooney's penalty followed by two Danny Welbeck goals for a fourth Group E victory.
Article top media content
• England come from behind to end 2014 with four perfect Group E wins
• Jordan Henderson own goal quickly cancelled out by a Wayne Rooney penalty
• Danny Welbeck then scores twice on Rooney's 100th appearance for England
• Slovenia captain Boštjan Cesar plays national record 81st game
• Next games: England v Lithuania, Slovenia v San Marino (27 March)
England came from behind to record a fourth straight win in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group E as a Wayne Rooney penalty and Danny Welbeck double secured a 3-1 victory against Slovenia.
Roy Hodgson's men responded impressively to the setback of Jordan Henderson's own goal and ensured that Rooney – who equalised a minute later – could celebrate his 100th appearance with a victory. In a pre-match presentation, Rooney, taking the field with his sons Kai and Klay, collected his golden 100th cap from another England centurion Sir Bobby Charlton but the first half that followed was rather grey.
With Raheem Sterling at the tip of England's midfield diamond, the hosts lacked width and struggled to open up the visitors' massed ranks down the middle of the pitch. Milivoje Novakovič put a header wide of the near post of Joe Hart's goal just before the half-hour while at the other end, the only real save for visiting goalkeeper Samir Handanovič came from team-mate Jasmin Kurtič's overpowered back pass.
The match erupted into life in the second half after Henderson flicked Andraž Kirm's free-kick into the box over his own goalkeeper Joe Hart. The hosts replied within a minute when Slovenia captain Boštjan Cesar tripped Rooney and his England counterpart converted the spot kick. Cesar was making his record 81st Slovenia appearance but, as on his 2009 visit to Wembley, he had given away a penalty to Rooney.
England's half-time switch to a 4-3-3 had brought greater width and they went on to win the game through Welbeck. When Handanovič saved a deflected Lallana cross with his feet, Welbeck put them in front by firing the loose ball into the turf and up into the net. He then broke through on a one-two with Sterling to beat Handanovič with a low finish to seal the victory.