March 23, 2018 / 11:03 PM / a month ago

Soccer: Impressive England break Dutch drought with 1-0 win

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - England ended a 22-year win drought against the Netherlands thanks to Jesse Lingard’s strike for a 1-0 triumph after a performance of composure and quality in a friendly on Friday.

Soccer Football - International Friendly - Netherlands vs England - Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands - March 23, 2018 England’s Harry Maguire with England manager Gareth Southgate and England’s Jamie Vardy REUTERS/Michael Kooren

Gareth Southgate’s World Cup-bound England side were superior for much of the match, organised and in control even before Manchester United midfielder Lingard’s 59th minute goal secured their first win over the Dutch since Euro ‘96.

The Netherlands, still smarting from missing out on this year’s finals in Russia after a second straight failure to qualify for a major championship, were left with little to cheer at the start of reconstruction under new manager Ronald Koeman.

The home side got lucky soon after halftime when a clear foul on Marcus Rashford in the penalty area was waved away.

But the visitors were soon rewarded for their control and some neat passing movements when a loose ball fell to Lingard, who swept it home with a clinical right-foot finish from just outside the box for his first senior international goal.

The result and, more importantly, the assured performances from some of Southgate’s supposed fringe players gave encouragement to the England boss, who was in the team that last beat the Netherlands 4-1 at Wembley in 1996.

Soccer Football - International Friendly - Netherlands vs England - Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands - March 23, 2018 England’s Raheem Sterling in action Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

“It was a good test for us, we came away from home and controlled the game,” he told ITV Sport. “We used the ball really well for 60, 65 minutes. Maybe more quality in the final third was required but we were very solid.”

He was also happy with the way his three-man defensive unit worked, even after he had lost Joe Gomez to injury in the opening 10 minutes and had to bring on Harry Maguire to join John Stones and Kyle Walker.

“The back three were excellent and the goalkeeper (Jordan Pickford) too, the way they were able to play from the back,” said Southgate. “They played with real composure, and played with intelligence too.”

He was delighted for his matchwinner Lingard too. “He’s a player we’ve worked with for three or four years from the Under 21s and this year he is starting to finish the chances,” the manager said.

Slideshow (5 Images)

England captain Jordan Henderson enthused: “The three at the back, we look solid with that shape and it gives licence for us to pick up positions in midfield.”

England, who had not won in Amsterdam since 1969, now have one more friendly against Italy on Tuesday before Southgate finalises his squad for Russia.

Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Ken Ferris and Christian Radnedge

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