KEIR RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY —- Something horribly incongruous surrounded England’s 1-0 friendly win over Australia at Wembley: passions were about to be stirred – and were being stirred across Europe and beyond – by a dozen or more football matches while the latest awful chapter in the never-ending Arab-Israeli saga was about to be “played out” with who knows what shattering, despairing consequences.

The angst over the Football Association’s decision not to light up the Wembley arch in the colours of the Israeli flag was a plague on everyone’s houses. To misquote Rick in Casablanca: “It doesn’t take much to see that the problems of a few little football people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

One minute’s silence at Wembley — impeccably observed

Hence, once the FA along with governing bodies FIFA and UEFA had delivered the verbal hand-wringing of impotent despair so this crazy, black armband-wearing world went spinning on after referee Stephanie Frappart had whistled out the minute of impeccably silent acknowledgement.

An England reserve team had 67 per cent of possession in the first half but Australia would have been disappointed not to be leading when they went in at the interval.

Keanu Baccus was denied early on by keeper Sam Johnstone, Mitchell Duke volleyed narrowly wide and Ryan Strain wasted a superb opening just before the break.

The one occasion on which England threatened seriously saw Ollie Watkins slip a shot against a post after being sent in by James Maddison. He made amends 12 minutes into the second half by popping home a goal-bound cross-shot from Jack Grealish.

England hardly deserved the lead and might have lost it in the 80th minute when a sloppy lack of marking at an Australian left-wing corner saw Connor Metcalfe head against the outside of Johnstone’s left-hand post.

Hence England won a match to forget. Surely the duel with Italy, at Wembley for next week’s Euro qualifier, will be the real deal. Under what cloud who knows?

The teams

England: Johnstone – Alexander-Arnold, Dunk, Colwill, Tomori (Stones 62) – Gallagher (Phillips 62), Henderson (Trippier 62), Maddison (Foden 72) – Bowen, Watkins (Nketiah 72), Grealish (Rashford 62).

Australia: Ryan – Strain (Miller 74), Souttar, Burgess, Rowles (Behich 83) – Boyle (Mabil 83), Baccus, Irvine, Goodwin (Borrello 73) – Metcalfe (Toure 89) – Duke (Bos 73).

Referee: Frappart (Fr). Att: 81,116.