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Super Eagles lose after poor first half

03 Juin 2018

The pace of wingbacks Ashley Young and Kieran Trippier added more firepower to Southgate's side which has been slowly taking shape.

England dominated the first-half, and took the lead after just seven minutes, with Gary Cahill powering home a header from a corner.

A second goal did finally arrive with six minutes remaining until half time, though, as Eric Dier won possession in midfield before giving the ball to Kane, who exchanged passes with Sterling and drilled a ferocious finish through Uzoho from the edge of the box.

England's pressure from this point on was relentless as the Nigerians clung on and offered little in response.

Gareth Southgate claims Raheem Sterling justified his decision to protect the troubled England star despite his booking for diving against Nigeria.

It was a dream start for the Three Lions, who oozed astounding confidence throughout the first half, finding plenty of space to penetrate the Nigerians in all compartments. I'd be disappointed if he's not in the first team. Nigeria looked lost on the pitch as they were dispossessed easily.

England manager Gareth Southgate included Raheem Sterling in his team to face Nigeria despite the player being in the public eye for the last week following two controversies on the eve of the World Cup. Dele and Jesse made some fantastic runs.

Thus, you probably shouldn't read too much into their 2-1 victory over Nigeria at Wembley.

The changes worked as the visitors came back strongly in the second half, showing more of the verve that took them past Cameroon in the qualifiers and against Argentina in a friendly late a year ago. A couple of years ago Roy Hodgson's men came from 2-0 down to brilliantly beat Germany 3-2 in Berlin, and it was tempting to think about what success they could achieve in France.

England would be content if they kick off their campaign with an identical result against Tunisia, but Southgate was quick to stress that the game was not scheduled as a direct dress rehearsal.

Nigeria have a more arduous task against Croatia, Iceland and Argentina.

However, Nigeria perked up in the second period and got themselves back in the game through Iwobi.

Michael Lynch, The Age's expert on soccer, has had extensive experience of high level journalism in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Only three players have scored in four World Cups - Brazilian great Pele and German strikers Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. He has also reported on Grands Prix and top class motor sport from Asia and Europe.

Super Eagles lose after poor first half