Football: Rooney scores but England fail to excite the masses

It was supposed to be the start of a brave new England.

And captain Wayne Rooney, mocked for being a "bit chubby" by his Norwegian opponents, delivered - slotting home a penalty.

While England won last night's friendly, an underwhelming crowd was on hand to cheer the 1-0 scoreline at Wembley.

For the first time in its seven-year history, the new arena was less than half-full for an England international.

Just over 40,000 fans witnessed a familiar diet of mostly uninspiring fare from Roy Hodgson’s World Cup failures, enlivened mainly by Raheem Sterling sparkling performance.

The Liverpool teenager’s constant buzzing and probing at the fringes of the Norwegian defence finally undid the visitors after 68 laborious minutes.

He outfoxed and outpaced Omar Elabdellaoui, forcing the latter to make a rash challenge on the left edge of the box.

Rooney stepped up to smash the resultant penalty past Orjan Haskjold Nyland for his 41st England goal.

Until then, his England midfield seemed to be suffering from a post-Brazil hangover.

They huffed and puffed as they tried to blow away the world’s 53rd ranked team.

Norway’s line-up had just two players from the second tier.

Photos: AFP, Reuters

Rooney could, as usual, not be faulted for effort.

Bbut this was not one of his best nights.

England looked sharper once he was substituted and Arsenal’s new signing Danny Welbeck provided a lively cameo. - Reuters


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