England flew off to the Euro 2012 finals in confident mood after Danny Welbeck scores his first England goal in a 1-0 win over Belgium at Wembley on this day four years ago.
On This Day – 2 June 2012
England 1 – 0 Belgium
Wembley Stadium, London
After successfully negotiating Norway in his maiden game in charge as England manager a week earlier, Roy Hodgson got a feel for his new seat in the dugout at Wembley Stadium while his team were given a raucous send-off from 85,000 fans ahead of their latest European adventure.
It was England’s first outing against Belgium for 13 years and the first at Wembley since 1964, but the game was more about looking to the future with the Three Lions heading to Poland and Ukraine for their Euro 2012 opener against France nine days later.
Though the visitors, including Chelsea-bound Eden Hazard, surprisingly missed out on qualification, they showed signs of what was to come as they made it a tough afternoon for England and enjoyed much of the possession.
Hodgson handed a first start to Arsenal teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was lively during his 67 minutes on the pitch and had a couple of earlier sights of goal.
But the Three Lions were hit with an injury blow midway through the first half when Gary Cahill collided with Joe Hart after a needless push by Dries Martens. X-rays revealed a double fracture of his jaw and meant Cahill’s summer of football was over.
With half-time approaching England got their noses in front with the only goal of the game from Danny Welbeck.
Captain Steven Gerrard dispossessed Fulham’s Moussa Dembele inside Belgium territory and Ashley Young collected the loose ball before feeding Welbeck running through. The 21-year-old Manchester United forward showed composure as Thomas Vermaelen closed down, and he lifted the ball brilliantly over the head of onrushing Simon Mignolet in the Belgium net for his first senor goal for England.
Guillaume Gillet struck Joe Hart’s post with a late, long-range effort, while substitute Jermain Defoe was trying to stake a claim for a starting place against France with two decent efforts, but neither side could find the back of the net and England headed to the Euros in confident mood.