Fulham’s Matthew Briggs continued his impressive start to his fledging international career with another cap for the England under-21s as Stuart Pearce’s side swept to a 3-0 win over Iceland in Reykjavik.
England maintained their 100 per cent start to qualifying for the Euro 2013 tournament thanks to a fine hat-trick from Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. This was expected to be a much stiffer test for Pearce’s side after their 6-0 romp past Azerbaijan at Vicarage Road last month as Iceland had beaten England in their last meeting, but the visitors were into their stride as soon as the contest kicked off. Liverpool’s Martin Kelly was denied by a fine save from Arnar Darri Petursson before Marvin Sordell fluffed a good opening down the right and Kelly went close again from corner by Henri Lansbury.
England did eventually take the lead after 12 minutes when Oxlade-Chamberlain made the most of defensive hesitancy to collect a loose ball, sprint towards goal and finish calmly across the goalkeeper. Three minutes later and the former Southampton winger doubled England’s lead. He was indebted to goalkeeper Petursson who failed to hold Nathan Delfouneso’s cross and allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain the simplest of finishes. The 18 year-old completed his treble three minutes after the break when he tricked his way past a couple of defenders and somehow beat the goalkeeper from an acute angle.
England’s victory was marred by injuries to Delfouneso and Martyn Waghorn. Both suffered hamstring strains with the Aston Villa forward being replaced by the Leicester striker midway through the first half, only for Waghorn to have to substituted on the half mark, with Chelsea’s Josh McEarchan being introduced as his replacement.
ICELAND: A Petursson, K Jonsson (Steindorsson 54), Eyjolfsson, Laxdal, Snorrason, Valdimarsson, Sigurbjornsson, R Sigurjonsson, Margeirsson, Sverrisson (Hannesson 57), Johannsson. Subs (not used): AT Magnusson, Gudjonsson,H Magnusson, Thorarinsson, A Sigurjonsson.
BOOKED: Steindorsson, Valdimarsson.
ENGLAND: Butland, Flanagan, Briggs, Dawson, Kelly, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Barkley 82), Rodwell, Henderson, Lansbury, Sordell, Delfouneso (Waghorn 24, McEachran 63). Subs (not used): Amos, Smith, Baker, Lowe.
GOALS: Oxlade-Chamberlain (12, 15, 48).
REFEREE: C Turpin (France).