Injuries mar England win over Belgium

England completed their preparations for Euro 2012 when a Danny Welbeck goal sealed a 1-0 win over Belgium in a friendly at Wembley on Saturday to give new manager Roy Hodgson his second successive victory since being appointed last month.

Welbeck scored his first senior England goal after 36 minutes when he dinked the ball over goalkeeper Simon Mignolet after a precise through pass from Ashley Young.

There were injury concerns for Hodgson's central defenders, however, with Gary Cahill going off after clattering into his own goalkeeper Joe Hart when he was shoved in the back after 17 minutes by Dries Mertens who was booked for the challenge.

Cahill will undergo a scan after fears he may have suffered a broken jaw. John Terry will also require a scan, according to Hodgson, after tweaking a hamstring.

Cahill and Terry's Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard has already been ruled out with a thigh injury while fellow midfielder Gareth Barry is another player ruled out of Hodgson's squad with a groin injury.

In a largely low-key pre-tournament friendly, Belgium dominated much of the possession but England did enough to win their second successive match 1-0 following last week's friendly in Oslo against Norway.

Both teams went close to scoring late in the game with Belgian defender Guillaume Gillet sending a fierce angled drive against the England post and England substitute Jermain Defoe hitting the post at the other end.

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England started with only four of the players who began in Norway - captain Steven Gerrard, James Milner, Scott Parker and Oslo scorer Young with Hodgson employing a rigid 4-4-2 system against a more fluid Belgian team.

The visitors, who had only beaten England once in 20 previous internationals and not since 1936, failed to qualify for the Euro finals after finishing behind Germany and Turkey in their qualifying group, but have a team full of up-and-coming players that could lead them to the World Cup in Brazil.

Fo most of the first half they were better technically than England with Eden Hazard, set for a move to Chelsea this summer, impressive going forwards and Jan Vertonghen, seemingly bound for Tottenham, looking solid in a defence deprived of Manchester City's Vincent Kompany after the warm-up.

The Belgian skipper, nursing a calf injury, aggravated it just before the kick-off and was replaced by Timmy Simons, winning his 91st cap.

England showed glimpses of potential, especially from Welbeck and teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, making his first start, who twice shot wide from good positions in the opening half. Gerrard had a double-chance with two shots that were blocked just before the break.

Belgium had the ball in the net in the opening period when Mertens forced the ball over the line from an acute angle after 17 minutes but the incident will best be remembered for his shove on Cahill who went off injured to be replaced by Joleon Lescott.

The match was noteworthy as the first international being used to test the Hawk-Eye goalline technology, albeit without it being used to influence any decisions.


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