Sunday, 11 December 2011

Wembley Stadium (New)

Matchday Number: 125
Saturday 12th May 2007
Kidderminster Harriers 2-3 Stevenage Borough
FA Trophy Final

My 2nd match at the new Wembley was the big game between England & Russia at Wembley in the Euro 2008 Qualifier. I'd previously been to Wembley in May for the FA Trophy Final between Stevenage and Kidderminster who fought out an entertaining game which the side from Broadhall Way won 3-2.

I'd also been to watch England at the old Wembley around 10 times, the first was Terry Venables first match as England Manager when we beat Denmark 1-0.

The pressure on manager Steve McClaren was reduced following a decent performance against Israel the previous Saturday, which we won 3-0. But Russia were expected to be tougher opposition and I thought that we would do well to get a win of any sorts against the side managed by Dutchman Guus Hiddink.

I drove to Amersham Station and got the train to Wembley from there. Far easier than parking around the stadium and paying silly prices. It cost me just shy of £6 for parking and train fare and with the ticket only costing me £32.50 it was an affordable way to watch my national side. Getting the train out was no problem and I arrived in Wembley at around 6.

A decent pre match atmosphere was already building up as I had a mooch round the local area. I stocked up on goodies for the game and got some dinner. Curry Sauce and Chips was very nice and at £2 was way cheaper than the overpriced fare inside the stadium. I doubt you find a better Curry Sauce and Chips down South, you'd have to go up North to find the real decent chippies. The outstanding one is the Mill Lane Chippy in Macclesfield, honourable mentions also to the one outside Rochdale's away end.

I got into the stadium at about 7.20 and it was nice and easy to find my seat. I had a great view, right up in the corner as you can see from my picture. The atmosphere was good too, England fans made themselves heard and the team reciprocated with a very good solid performance. Although it was disappointing to hear the booing of the Russian national anthem - pointless and disrespectful in my opinion.

There will be acres and acres of match reports elsewhere so I won't go into too much detail. England took a 2-0 lead in at half time, both goals from Michael Owen. The second one was particularly good, a dipping shot beating the Russia keeper. In that first half Russia were playing fairly well until 2-0 - they even had a goal chalked off for offside when it was still 1-0.

Russia started the second half the strongest and had a few good chances within the first 10 minutes. But eventually England took control, putting the game beyond doubt with a rare Rio Ferdinand goal. England could have had more but stout Russia defending prevented them adding to their tally.

A good performance and a good game then. Sadly England failed to Qualify for Euro 2008, following a rain soaked 3-2 defeat to Croatia in the final game.

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