“I don’t want to change the world, I’m not looking for a new England” – Billy Bragg, A New England
England travel to Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium today to battle Denmark for their first international of 2011. The side and its supporters will be eager to turn the page on 2010; a year of unfulfilled promise and ultimate disappointment. England played 12 matches in 2010, defeating Egypt, Mexico, Japan, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Switzerland, drawing with the United States, Algeria and Montenegro and losing to Germany and France. That 4-1 defeat to Germany in Bloemfontein bounced England from the World Cup at the first knockout stage, a clear regression from the consecutive quarter-final appearances under Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2002 and 2006.
Denmark, who exited South Africa at the group stage with a lone win over Cameroon, make a quality opponent for England. They are a point off of second in their relatively easy qualifying group. Four members of their current squad ply their trade in the Premier League, including Nicklas Bendtner at Arsenal, Daniel Agger at Liverpool, and Lars Jacobsen at West Ham United.
With qualification for Euro 2012 seemingly safe (England currently sit second in their group, three points adrift of mighty-mite Montenegro with a match in hand), this year will be about making the transition from the Lampard-Terry-Gerrard generation. Hopefully by the end of 2011, England supporters will be mapping out pierogi-borscht-and-beer-filled itineraries for Poland or Ukraine. More importantly, we should have a clearer idea of the side England will send to Euro ’12 and Brazil ’16. This is the year for England’s younger stars to shine to secure their places on the senior side. England’s next match will be against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on March 26th in a crucial Euro ’12 qualifier. Wales’ footballers will be looking to avenge the home defeat suffered by their rugby brethren against England last Friday.
In the United States, today’s match against Denmark can be seen along with many other of tomorrow’s friendlies at Espn3.com starting at 2:15 EST; and on other Internet streams but not on television in the United States.
Fabio Capello’s 25-man squad for the match:
Ben Foster, Joe Hart, David Stockdale
Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Kyle Walker
Gareth Barry, Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Ashley Young
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney