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Vintage Grealish moment lifts England past Romania as debutant shines

England made it two wins from two ahead of Euro 2020 after Jack Grealish and several of Gareth Southgate’s squad players proved too much for Romania to handle.

With England seeking their first win against Romania from their last eight attempts, Gareth Southgate made nine alterations at the Riverside Stadium. Tyrone Mings and Jack Grealish were the only players to retain their starting spot from Wednesday’s win against Austria. Marcus Rashford captained England for the first time as Sam Johnstone made his international debut.

In their final warm-up match prior to Euro 2020, the Three Lions sought to enter the competition on the back of a morale-boosting win.

Any hopes of a fast start were quickly extinguished, however, with the opening 15 minutes producing little in the way of goalmouth action at either end.

Usually so deadly from set pieces, James Ward-Prowse saw a pair of corners easily cleared. The hosts’ early frustrations were summed up perfectly when Jack Grealish blazed over with a speculative effort from distance.

England gradually started to hit their stride as the half wore on, and began casing Romania’s backline problems with their energetic press.

Marcus Rashford was almost the beneficiary on one occasion after latching on to an errant clearance. The Man Utd forward took a tumble inside the area after a challenge but was denied the penalty he craved.

Johnstone had enjoyed a quiet afternoon between the sticks thus far, but was secure when called upon to save Adrian Păun’s volley from the edge of the area.

With the half meandering, England kicked into gear and rattled the woodwork on two occasions.

Rising high above his marker, DominicCalvert-Lewin’s towering header crashed off the crossbar in the nearest of misses.

So close to the opener!

Calvert-Lewin gets up to meet Ward-Prowse’s inviting free-kick… but his header comes back off the frame of the goal #ITVFootball | #ThreeLions

— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 6, 2021

Moments later, Grealish’s teasing run and backheel teed up Jadon Sancho who whipped a curling effort onto the crossbar with the goalkeeper again beaten. Nevertheless, the scores remained deadlocked at 0-0 as half time approached.

England got on the front foot after the interval and came within a whisker of taking the lead. Another dangerous Ward-Prowse free-kick found Everton duo Calvert-Lewin and Ben Godfrey at the far post. But neither could provide the clinical touch with the ball nestling in Florin Nita’s hands.

Calvert-Lewin was heavily involved in the final third, and almost turned provider for Rashford.

A deft headed flick round the corner sent Rashford sprinting away, but after travelling half the length of the pitch with the ball, his finish disappointed.

England finally found the breakthrough from the spot when Grealish’s trickery drew a foul from substitute Tiberiu Căpușă with his first action of the match.

Rashford assumed responsibilities in Kane’s absence and coolly slotted into the bottom corner to put England one up.

The lead was almost surrendered but for a pair of heroic last-ditch stops to prevent certain goals.

Tyrone Mings first blocked a close-range shot before Johnstone produced a tremendous save to deny the resulting effort from the rebound.

How has @SamJohnstone50 kept that out?!

Simply sensational from the @England debutant! #ITVFootball | #ThreeLions

— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 6, 2021

Substitute Jordan Henderson then squandered a glorious opportunity to double England’s advantage from the spot after Calvert-Lewin drew the match’s second penalty. The Liverpool captain’s shot was struck firm but was a nice height for the goalkeeper to beat away.

The miss would not go on to cost England as they ultimately rounded out 1-0 winners.

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