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Lallana does his World Cup chances no harm
Adam Lallana’s first two England appearances might have ended in defeat, but the Saints midfielder can still celebrate a major individual victory.
Handed another start by Roy Hodgson, after debuting impressively in Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Chile, Lallana was once again a solid performer for the Three Lions, in their 1-0 loss to Germany.
The England boss had wanted a second look at the 25-year-old following his strong first appearance, and the Saints skipper certainly didn't do his chances of making the World Cup squad any harm at Wembley.
With just one friendly between now and when Hodgson names his provisional squad for Brazil, it was vital for Lallana’s hopes that he did not struggle.
He will still have much work to do if he is to force his way onto the Football Association’s plane that will jet off to Brazil, but he is now in firm contention for a seat.
His best man, the former Totton player Jamie Whisken, revealed this week that Lallana will have to postpone his wedding, which is scheduled for next summer, if Hodgson picks him.
It probably wouldn’t be wise for him to start making any final payments for his big day yet.
Deployed down the left-hand side, Lallana displayed some slick touches and offered a few moments of genuine threat against what was a solid German outfit.
His night was undoubtedly more successful than the other two Saints players who were in Hodgson’s latest squad.
Rickie Lambert was introduced to the game in the 76th minute, replacing Lallana, but did not have time to make any significant impact.
Had injury not forced him out of the clash with Chile he would surely have had greater opportunity to enhance his prospects.
However, having already established himself in the squad, Lambert will know that continuing his recent good form with Saints should keep him at the forefront of Hodgson’s mind in the coming months.
Unsurprisingly, Jay Rodriguez did not make an appearance, being left on the bench after failing to make an impact in the friendly against Chile.
The 24-year-old must now go back to Saints and regroup.
While next year’s World Cup seems out of the question for him, Rodriguez still has an international future to play for and must take the positives and learn from the experience of the past week.
The start to this match was an uninspiring one, with neither keeper seriously tested until late in the half.
Lallana had threatened to create a rare opening midway through the half, making a clever run to latch onto Wayne Rooney’s throw-in. Having got to the byline, his cutback was heading for Daniel Sturridge, only for Jerome Boateng to put his head in the way and divert the ball to safety.
A much-changed Germany side eventually came to life just under ten minutes before the break, scoring what proved to be the decisive goal through Per Mertesacker.
Seconds after Joe Hart had denied one header from the Arsenal man with a stunning save, he planted an unstoppable effort past the England keeper from Toni Kroos’ cross.
After Hart saved from Marco Reus shortly after half-time, Lallana came close to levelling.
Daniel Sturridge turned Rooney’s delivery back across goal, but, as Lallana looked set to nod in from close range, Mats Hummels managed to leap in and head clear.
Lallana then nearly unlocked the German defence when he spun and controlled Ashley Cole’s pass all in one glorious movement. It almost took him clear inside the box, but he couldn’t quite get himself set.
Andros Townsend hit the post for England after 57 minutes, but Germany, who went close to a second through Mario Gotze and Sidney Sam, deservedly held on.
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