England Under-21 1 Moldova Under-21 0 match report: Saido Berahino edges England into brave new era

 

the Madejski Stadium

England's 2022 World Cup winners, playing in the guise of Gareth Southgate's Under-21 side, gave the new manager a victory in his first match and their opening European Championship contest at Reading.

In front of Roy Hodgson, who had taken charge of the team for a 6-0 victory over a feeble Scotland last month, they proved too good for limited opposition, as England teams frequently do in qualifying ties. Both Hodgson and the FA chairman, Greg Dyke, would be concerned to note, however, that only two of the 18 players here started a Premier League game last weekend.

Under Southgate's predecessor, Stuart Pearce, last summer's shattering of great expectations was extreme even by the standards of English national teams; after a run of ten successive victories without conceding a goal going into the European finals, the Under-21s lost all three games in abject fashion. Five of that squad appeared tonight, of whom Wilfried Zaha, apart from one shocking headed miss, showed all the flair he had failed to produce in Israel.

 Norwich's Nathan Redmond, one of the two Premier League starters - Southampton's James Ward-Prowse was the other - was equally bright on the other flank and Tom Carroll, loaned out from Tottenham to Queen's Park Rangers this week, again prompted the question of whether Spurs really needed to buy quite so many foreign midfielders. 

 The new coach had quickly been introduced to one of the main drawbacks of the job when the two most capped players, Connor Wickham and Jonjo Shelvey, both withdrew over the weekend with injuries. Sunderland's Wickham may yet join up for Monday's game against Finland. His absence permitted a debut for Saido Berahino, who had scored a hat-trick for West Bromwich Albion in the Capital One Cup against Newport last week and added a fine goal in the 14th minute of his debut tonight. Taking Carroll's pass, he veered to his right and hit a powerful shot high into the net.

 The chances thereafter came at regular intervals and the only concern was that a second goal refused to. Moldova's wing-backs were given a torrid time by Zaha and Redmond and the goalkeeper, Alexei Koshelev, made half a dozen good saves, including two from headers by England's captain Andre Wisdom. Will Hughes had a shot from close-range cleared off the line and Berahino miskicked from even nearer. Jack Butland, in contrast, had little chance to shine.

“It's clear we needed a little bit more ruthlessness in front of goal,” Southgate said. “But I've got to be pleased.”

England (4-3-3): Butland (Stoke); Stones (Everton), Wisdom (Liverpool), Keane (Manchester Utd), Shaw (Southampton); Chalobah (Chelsea), Carroll (Tottenham), Ward-Prowse (Southampton); Redmond (Norwich), Berahino (West Bromwich), Zaha (Manchester Utd). Substitutes Hughes (Derby) for Ward-Prowse, 66. Sammy Ameobi (Newcastle) for Redmond, 75. Harry Kane (Tottenham) for Berahino, 86.

Moldova (3-4-2-1): Koshelev; Prodan, Focsa, Bogdan; Mirza, Zasavitchi, Anton, Jardan; Rata, Carp; Dima. Substitutes Milinceanu for Carp, 68. Patic for Dima, 89.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn