England vs. Ireland: Final score 1-1, not really worth the wait

Mike Hewitt

Really, England and Ireland, you can go back to not playing for another 18 years. It's cool.

England and Ireland produced a pair of goals, but not a ton of action in their first meeting since 1995. The goals were well made and taken, and much more reflective of the skill of the attacking players than anything the defenders did wrong, but the second half in particular was slow as the teams coasted to a 1-1 draw.

Ireland's goal came out of nothing in the 13th minute. Seamus Coleman, picking up a short pass on the right flank, took a step inside and delivered a beautiful in-swinging cross towards the center of the penalty area. Shane Long made an excellent run between the two England center backs, and even though they recovered well, he got a great touch on the ball with his head to direct past Joe Hart at the far post.

Frank Lampard hit back for England 10 minutes later, scoring one of his trademark poacher's efforts on a late run from midfield. Danny Sturridge set up the goal by holding up the ball in the box, waiting for a run from a teammate and then chipping the ball towards Lampard, who finished comfortably.

Not long after the goal, Sturridge picked up an injury and was replaced by Jermain Defoe. Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers will be hoping it was merely a knock, and nothing serious.

The substitutions were the biggest things of note after the goals. Ben Foster and Phil Jones replaced Joe Hart and Glen Johnson at halftime, while Ashley Cole exited the first game he captained for England in his career in the 54th minute, making way for Leighton Baines.

Ireland came close to an equalizer in the 79th minute and might have had it with a bit more awareness from Long. Foster fumbled what looked like an easy claim, allowing the ball to fall to Jonathan Walters, but the flag went up for offside on Long, who was standing on the goal line. England pushed forward in the final 10 minutes and had a couple of half-chances, but nothing terribly threatening.

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