England 3-0 Bosnia: Three Lions turn up the tempo to win Euro 2024 warm-up friendly

Cool as ice: Cole Palmer marked his first senior England start with a goal from the penalty spot (The FA via Getty Images)
Cool as ice: Cole Palmer marked his first senior England start with a goal from the penalty spot (The FA via Getty Images)

Experimental England delivered a much-improved second-half display to brush aside Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 in their penultimate match before Euro 2024.

After a thoroughly tame and goalless first 45 minutes at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, a second-string Three Lions side upped the tempo considerably after the break and got their rewards as first Cole Palmer dispatched a penalty on his first senior international start.

Trent Alexander-Arnold then volleyed home five minutes from time on Tyneside after being teed up nicely by Jack Grealish, before captain Harry Kane added further gloss to the scoreline from close range.

The first half was a notably sleepy affair, with Eberechi Eze’s performance the only standout as the Crystal Palace winger caused real problems with his direct running, speed and skill.

Ollie Watkins forced an early save from Nikola Vasilj after being played in by Palmer and staying on his feet instead of going down to claim a penalty amid no shortage of grappling from his marker, while the Bosnian goalkeeper was also called into action to save from both Ezri Konsa and Palmer before the interval.

England started the second period with far more purpose despite making no half-time changes, Watkins heading over an Alexander-Arnold corner won by Palmer.

They maintained that new-found energy as Palmer impressed, piling up the corners and earning a penalty after Norwegian referee Rohit Saggi was sent to consult the pitchside monitor following a VAR check for a shirt pull on Konsa by Ajax’s Benjamin Tahirovic at a corner.

With usual penalty-taker Kane about to come on having only returned to training this week after missing the last three games of Bayern Munich’s domestic season with a back issue, Palmer stepped up to confidently dispatch his first senior international goal past Vasilj, who guessed the right way but couldn’t keep it out.

England remained dominant but could not add to their lead, despite monopolising possession and asking repeated questions with impressive cameos from the likes of Kane, Grealish and James Maddison.

That was until the 85th minute, when Alexander-Arnold, who had greatly impressed with his stunning range of passing, guided a sweetly-struck volley into the far corner from a tough angle after great vision to pick him out from Grealish.

England wrapped up a comfortable win just before stoppage time, when Grealish and Maddison combined effectively inside the box and Konsa inadvertently denied Jarrod Bowen a maiden England goal, with substitute Kane on hand to squirm home the rebound past Vasilj.

Attentions now turn to Friday night’s final pre-European Championship friendly against Iceland at Wembley, with the official Uefa deadline for Southgate to cut his 33-man provisional squad down to a final 26 names coming on the same day.

After that it’s on to Germany, where England begin their Group C campaign against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on June 16.