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Euro 2024 warm-up: England 3-0 Bosnia – match report

Cole Palmer nets penalty on full debut while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Kane add gloss late-on

England's Gareth Southgate

England left it late before sweeping aside a stubborn Bosnia side in their first Euro 2024 warm-up match.

After a low-key first 45 minutes England upped the intensity after the break and Cole Palmer netted his first England goal from the spot on the hour, on his full debut.

Trent Alexander-Arnold volleyed home a fine second in the closing stages and Harry Kane came off the bench to win his 90th cap and capped it with his 63rd goal in the dying seconds.

Eberechi Eze, Palmer, Alexander-Arnold and 20-year-old debutant Adam Wharton arguably did the most to boost their hopes of being in England’s final Euro 2024 squad when it is submitted on Friday night.

Bosnia had lost their last four matches and were thumped 4-1 by lowly Luxembourg in qualifying for Euro 2024, but it was a first match under new boss Sergej Barbarez and they provided a stern test in terms of physicality and patience, utilising a low block, which should serve England well in Euro 2024 group games against Serbia and Slovenia in particular.

Gareth Southgate named an inexperienced side, with six of the starting XI having fewer than 10 senior caps to their name going into the game.

Inspiration was in short supply in the opening half but Palmer showed the most of it, drifting into space early on and threading Ollie Watkins through to hold off Nicola Katic and fire in an angled shot which was blocked at his near post by Nikola Vasilj.

Comor Gallagher whipped a 20-yard shot past the angle of post and bar after some attractive approach play from the dynamic Eze and Palmer and a Palmer corner deflected into the hands of Vasilj off a defender on 25 minutes while soon after the keeper got a boot to a shot from Ezri Konsa after a corner had dropped to the Aston Villa defender six yards out.

Marc Guehi’s loose pass led to Haris Hajradinovic’s having a shot deflected narrowly past Jordan Pickford’s upright five minutes before the break but more industrious work from Cole Palmer eventually led to Jarrod Bowen having a low effort from distance easily saved by the keeper.

England turn it around after the turnaround

England showed increased urgency and tempo after the turnaround and Watkins glanced a header over from an Alexander-Arnold corner while Palmer dragged a deflected shot wide of the near post and was crowded out in the box after being found by Bowen’s first-time pass soon after.

On the hour England were awarded a penalty after a VAR intervention after Konsa was hauled down in the box, earning Benjamin Tahirovic a caution and allowing Palmer to squeeze his 10th penalty of the season past the keeper and into the bottom corner on his first England start.

It was his final action as he was withdrawn among a host of changes before the restart with Wharton and Jarrad Branthwaite handed England debuts with Harry Kane, James Maddison and Jack Grealish also coming on.

Kane stung the palms of Vasilj with a fierce strike from the edge of the box with 20 minutes remaining while Alexander-Arnold’s raking pass freed Grealish down the left before he layed the ball off to Maddison, who stumbled in the act of shooting and hooked the ball wide.

As Bosnian resistance waned it was 2-0 on 85 minutes when Grealish lofted the ball beyond the far post where the unmarked Alexander-Arnold ghosted in unmarked to thrashed a low first-time volley back across goal and inside the far post for his third England goal.

Gallagher drove forward and drew a low save from the keeper moments later but there was still time for Kane to get his 63rd England goal, firing home the loose ball after Konsa had inadvertently blocked Bowen’s goalbound effort on the line after nice interplay between Grealish and Maddison.

England return to action with Iceland visiting Wembley in their final warm-up match before their tournament opener against Serbia on June 16.

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.