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Poor defending costs Wales at Wembley

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

Wales were comfortably beaten by 3-0 by England at Wembley, who now have bragging rights over their British Isle neighbours with the 90,000 capacity stadium empty for this friendly due to games still being played behind closed doors.

Ryan Giggs had to rearrange his team with Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen all missing, only the second time this has happened with former Manchester United winger being in control of the national team.

Goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Conor Coady and Danny Ings sealed the victory for the home team with most of the plaudits going to England midfielder, Jack Grealish, who was named man of the match.

Calvert-Lewin scored 28 minutes in to his England debut and the first Everton player to do so since Fred Pickering in 1964. The build-up was all about Grealish who twisted and turned Ethan Ampadu just outside the box and clipped in a fantastic ball, which Calvert-Lewin dispatched past Wayne Hennessey. Chris Mepham was caught off guard and that gave Calvert-Lewin the easiest of headers. This was the second chance he had as Ings played him through only to round Hennessey but couldn’t get control and got forced wide.

Coady scored his first goal for England in the second half, after a fantastic free kick saw him unmarked at the back past to fire into the roof of the net. Grealish again in the thick of the action making sure that the referee saw he was fouled by Ampadu. Kieran Trippier swung a brilliant ball which caused confusion in the Welsh defence as second half substitute, Ben Cabango was caught marking his team mate Mepham, by mistake.

The third goal of the night scored by Ings, who hadn’t previously scored for the Three Lions, was yet another set piece. Kalvin Phillips played a deep ball into the box from a corner which Tyrone Mings headed back into the danger area, Ings was left unmarked to overhead kick it past Hennessey, who was now asking questions of his defence.

Wales could have taken the lead on the 21st minute when Kieffer Moore snatched at a chance as England failed to clear a free kick and the ball fell invitingly to him just inside the area, his left foot just dragging the ball wide.

It was Moore who had another chance just after England had taken the lead. A hopeful ball forward was misjudged by Michael Keane and fell perfectly for Moore, his first touch took him in to the penalty area. England goalkeeper, Nick Pope, raced off his line and put Moore off, taking a knee to the head for his troubles. This proved costly for Moore as he went off injured just before half time, replaced by Neco Williams.

Mistakes started to be made by the Welsh defence as England were now pressing high every time the back five had the ball, another chance crafted out for Bukayo Saka by Grealish and Mason Mount forced a good one handed saved from Hennessey. Wales can thank their goalkeeper for it not being more after further saves from Ings and James Ward-Prose.

This was the first defeat since June 2019 when Wales were beaten 1-0 in Budapest, Hungary taking the points in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

With all England’s goals coming from crosses and set pieces, it’s something that Giggs and his staff are going to work on over the next few training sessions before the Nations Leagues games against Republic Of Ireland and Bulgaria.

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