England 2-1 Turkey

 Posted by at 2:35 AM
May 232016
Vardy’s goal against Turkey took his tally to three for England

Jamie Vardy’s late strike gave England victory over Turkey in their first warm-up match for Euro 2016, but Roy Hodgson’s side were fortunate to win a game in which they looked far from convincing at the back.

As dangerous as England were going forward they also struggled defensively, and it took a brilliant reaction save from Joe Hart to deny Olcay Sahan an equaliser in injury-time.

Most of the positives that Hodgson will take from this game will have come from watching his side attack, especially when he tweaked his formation to give Vardy a more central role in the final half hour.

And, after Harry Kane’s second-half penalty miss looked like it would be costly in Manchester, Vardy struck from close range with seven minutes left when Turkey failed to deal with Gary Cahill’s header.

Kane had actually given England the perfect start, linking up superbly with his Tottenham team-mate Dele Alli and finding a cool finish after four minutes, albeit from an offside position.

But England had already survived a couple of scares at the back when Volkan Sen got behind their defence and crossed for Hakan Calhanoglu to equalise soon after, and Turkey had further chances before England’s late show.

Reaction to England’s win over Turkey

Listen to BBC Radio 5 live’s commentary on the goals

England 2-1 Turkey: How the players rated

England’s defensive issues

England are now three games without a clean sheet for the first time since a run of four in August 2013.

With Chris Smalling unavailable after playing in Saturday’s FA Cup final, Gary Cahill was paired with John Stones in the centre of England’s defence, with Eric Dier in front of them.

While Dier did his best and was solid enough, given he was often isolated as the solitary dedicated holding midfielder, the centre-halves behind him were far less convincing, as was England’s general organisation in that department.

Turkey, three places below England at 13th in the world rankings and unbeaten in their last 13 matches, found plenty of space and asked frequent questions of the hosts’ uncertain back-line from set-pieces and in open play.

Hodgson has 19 days and two more warm-up matches left to try to put it right before England play Russia in their opening group game.

It was Hart who was partially to blame for Turkey’s goal, however.

He needlessly dashed out towards Sen when he got behind Danny Rose down England’s left, leaving Hakan Calhanoglu a simple finish from Sen’s cross.

4-3-3 suits Kane – but what about Vardy?

Hodgson used at least three different formations as he formulated his final plans for France.

His preferred shape for the first hour was 4-3-3, although in that formation only Kane looked likely to score.

Three of Hodgson’s five options up front – Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Daniel Sturridge – were unavailable for this game because they were recovering from playing in cup finals for their clubs.

That left Kane and Jamie Vardy, who have scored 49 Premier League goals between them this season.

The populist choice would have been to pair them up front together from the start, but instead Vardy and Raheem Sterling played either side of Kane in a 4-3-3 formation.

Vardy had few sights of goal and his crossing was not good enough to justify his selection as a winger but when Hodgson switched to 4-4-2 before the hour mark, he came alive.

The Leicester striker won England’s penalty in trademark style, dashing into the box and tangling with Mehmet Topal in a near-identical incident to the one that led to the forward’s dismissal against West Ham in April, but Kane’s usual coolness deserted him as he fired his spot-kick against the post.

Man of the Match – Harry Kane

The side was set up to exploit Harry Kane’s understanding with Dele Alli and they combined brilliantly for England’s first goal. The missed penalty blotted Kane’s copybook but he always looked England’s most dangerous player and was never afraid to shoot.

What they said

England manager Roy Hodgson: “For large swathes of the game we played reasonably well, but there was also the positive for me that it shows we’re not the finished article, there’s still work to be done.

“And when you play against a team of Turkey’s quality – they had some good moments and played quite well – it shows that these next three weeks are going to be vital for us in trying to make certain that we can stay compact at all times and make life easier for ourselves defensively.”

Jamie Vardy, on the decision to award a penalty for a foul on him: “There was contact on the back of my leg and I couldn’t stay on my feet. If the ref wanted to give it the other way he would do that, but he is a professional referee and he gave it as a penalty, so there you go, it is a penalty.”

The stats you need to know

  • Jamie Vardy has now scored in three consecutive games for England.
  • Harry Kane is the first England player to miss a penalty (excluding shootouts) since Frank Lampard missed against Japan in May 2010.
  • England had scored the previous 11 penalties before Kane’s miss.
  • Hakan Calhanoglu scored Turkey’s first ever goal against England at the country’s 11th attempt.
  • Roy Hodgson is the sixth England manager to reach 50 games (following Walter Winterbottom, Alf Ramsey, Ron Greenwood, Bobby Robson and Sven-Goran Eriksson).

What next?

England’s next friendly is against Australia at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on 27 May. Hodgson must submit his final 23-man squad for the finals by 31 May, before their final warm-up game, against Portugal at Wembley on 2 June. The squad head for their base in Chantilly on 6 June and play their first group game, against Russia, on 11 June.

Who do you think should start at Euro 2016? Step into Roy Hodgson’s shoes and pick your XI – and then share it with your friends using our brand new team selector.

Live Text

Match ends, England 2, Turkey 1.

Second Half ends, England 2, Turkey 1.

Attempt missed. Hakan Balta (Turkey) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Selcuk Inan following a set piece situation.

Foul by Jamie Vardy (England).

Mahmut Tekdemir (Turkey) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Yasin Öztekin (Turkey) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Dele Alli (England).

Ismail Köybasi (Turkey) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Turkey. Conceded by Gary Cahill.

Attempt saved. Olcay Sahan (Turkey) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ismail Köybasi with a cross.

Kyle Walker (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Yasin Öztekin (Turkey).

Attempt missed. Harry Kane (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jamie Vardy.

Attempt saved. Cenk Tosun (Turkey) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Selcuk Inan.

Foul by Eric Dier (England).

Olcay Sahan (Turkey) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Turkey. Mevlüt Erdinc replaces Ozan Tufan.

Offside, Turkey. Ismail Köybasi tries a through ball, but Cenk Tosun is caught offside.

Foul by Eric Dier (England).

Selcuk Inan (Turkey) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Turkey. Yasin Öztekin replaces Volkan Sen.

Goal! England 2, Turkey 1. Jamie Vardy (England) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner following a corner.

Attempt saved. Gary Cahill (England) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Harry Kane with a cross.

Corner, England. Conceded by Ismail Köybasi.

Hand ball by Danny Rose (England).

Substitution, Turkey. Olcay Sahan replaces Hakan Calhanoglu.

Danny Rose (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ozan Tufan (Turkey).

Foul by Harry Kane (England).

Mehmet Topal (Turkey) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, England. Daniel Drinkwater replaces Raheem Sterling.

Penalty missed! Still England 1, Turkey 1. Harry Kane (England) hits the left post with a right footed shot.

Mehmet Topal (Turkey) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Penalty conceded by Mehmet Topal (Turkey) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty England. Jamie Vardy draws a foul in the penalty area.

Cenk Tosun (Turkey) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Dele Alli (England).

Substitution, Turkey. Mahmut Tekdemir replaces Oguzhan Ozyakup.

Substitution, Turkey. Ismail Köybasi replaces Caner Erkin.

Danny Rose (England) wins a free kick on the left wing.

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Kilmarnock 4-0 Falkirk (agg 4-1)

 Posted by at 11:58 PM
May 222016
Lee Clark celebrated Kilmarnock’s third goal by running down the touchline and grabbing a fan’s scarf

Kilmarnock preserved their 23-year stay in the Scottish Premiership in the most emphatic fashion by thumping Falkirk in the second leg of the play-off final.

Lee Clark’s reborn team scored two goals inside the first eight minutes from Greg Kiltie and Miles Addison to wipe out their 1-0 first-leg deficit.

Kiltie added his second and Killie’s third just after the hour.

Amid joyous scenes at a sun-kissed Rugby Park, Kris Boyd rolled in the fourth, laid on by Josh Magennis.

At the end, a few hundred Killie fans invaded the pitch. One laid a flare on the artificial surface and ran away. The celebrating supporters quickly exited the field and resumed their survival party in the stand.

The visitors applauded their wonderful support. They have earned a reputation for their feats of footballing escapology this season, but this was a challenge that proved way beyond them.

Such a miserable season ended in relief for Killie. Finally, after so many awful performances and so much vulnerability, they got their act together.

Their attitude was top class, their ruthlessness a marked contrast to their performance in the first leg when they missed a number of decent chances.

Greg Kiltie’s early goal gave Kilmarnock impetus

For them, the challenge is to make sure that they don’t put their supporters through this torment again for quite some time.

Killie found the answers, but they still have many questions to ponder in the summer.

Peter Houston had opted to play the defensive-minded Tom Taiwo instead of the more attacking Blair Alston, but the Falkirk manager’s attempt at keeping it tight and stifling Killie was blown to smithereens within minutes.

The opening goal came after just three minutes when the returning, and heavily influential, Magennis went by a spooked Luke Leahy and squared for Kiltie, who controlled it with his first touch and fired past Danny Rogers with his second.

Falkirk’s weakness down their left side was exposed again within five minutes.

This time it was Lee Hodson supplying the ammunition and Craig Sibbald standing still and allowing him to do it. Hodson’s cross to the back post came off Aaron Muirhead’s head, when under pressure from Boyd, and fell to Addison, who smashed home from close range.

Miles Addison forced the ball over the line for Kilmarnock’s second goal

The huge visiting support were as stunned as their team. At 2-1 on aggregate the tie was far from over, but Falkirk could not find a rhythm, and could not apply enough pressure to a Killie defence that had a newly-found concentration and discipline.

Falkirk needed to take risks in pursuit of a goal, but risk-taking came at a big price.

As Falkirk piled forward, Killie picked them off at the back. The third came after 62 minutes when Tope Abadeyi went down the left and found a bit of accuracy with his pass to Kiltie, who did the rest.

The Killie fans were in raptures now, their season saved. There was one more flourish when Magennis was left to do damage up that right-hand side again.

The Northern Ireland international combined with Boyd and the striker had a simple job of putting away the goal that sparked further joy laced with huge relief.

Killie had survived a hapless season. Falkirk, on the other hand, could not finish off a thrilling one.

Live Text

Match ends, Kilmarnock 4, Falkirk 0.

Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 4, Falkirk 0.

Attempt blocked. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Rory McKenzie replaces Greg Kiltie.

Attempt missed. Aaron Muirhead (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Greg Taylor.

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

Foul by Lee Miller (Falkirk).

(Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Lee Miller (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).

Attempt blocked. Mark O’Hara (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Lee Ashcroft.

Robert McHugh (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Greg Kiltie (Kilmarnock).

Foul by Lee Miller (Falkirk).

Miles Addison (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Mark Kerr (Falkirk) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Greg Kiltie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mark Kerr (Falkirk).

Attempt blocked. Blair Alston (Falkirk) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Myles Hippolyte (Falkirk) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock).

David McCracken (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Paul Watson (Falkirk) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

Foul by Mark O’Hara (Kilmarnock).

Luke Leahy (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Mark O’Hara replaces Josh Magennis because of an injury.

Delay in match Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Lee Hodson (Kilmarnock) because of an injury.

Foul by Blair Alston (Falkirk).

Lee Hodson (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Blair Alston (Falkirk) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Gary Dicker.

Delay in match Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) because of an injury.

Will Vaulks (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).

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Van Gaal not told of Mourinho role

 Posted by at 9:17 PM
May 222016

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Defiant Van Gaal ‘proud’ of Man Utd Cup triumph

Louis van Gaal left Manchester United’s London hotel on Sunday without being told by the club that Jose Mourinho is set to succeed him as manager.

The BBC understands that Saturday’s FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace was Van Gaal’s last game in charge.

The 64-year-old has now travelled back to Manchester along with his squad.

However, it is understood neither the Dutchman nor his coaching staff have been told what is happening by United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Van Gaal said “it’s over” when a reporter approached him as he left the hotel on Sunday – but he is said to have been referring to his side’s season rather than his own job.

Other members of Van Gaal’s Old Trafford staff are believed to be unhappy at the lack of communication from the club’s hierarchy.

Louis van Gaal outside Manchester United’s London hotel on Sunday

Woodward as well as Joel and Avie Glazer, part of the American family who own the Premier League club, were at Wembley on Saturday – but are not thought to have been at the team hotel.

With United failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League under Van Gaal, the Old Trafford hierarchy is thought to have decided a change is required.

BBC Sport revealed on Saturday that United are set to appoint Mourinho as the former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Netherlands manager’s replacement.

The Portuguese, 53, was sacked by Chelsea in December, seven months after the Stamford Bridge club won the Premier League title.

Mourinho, who won three league titles in two spells at Chelsea, has been out of work since.

He was at heavyweight boxer David Haye’s win in London on Saturday evening but repeatedly declined to comment on whether he was about to succeed Van Gaal.

Never want to miss the latest Man Utd news? You can now add United and all the other sports and teams you follow to your personalised My Sport home.

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