England ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against Peru in their final game on home soil ahead of the 2014 World Cup on Friday night. A sumptuous finish from Daniel Sturridge gave the Three Lions the lead before half time, before centre-backs Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka both netted after break.
It was a game in which the Three Lions can take plenty of positives from despite the clear gulf in class between them and their opponents. Roy Hodgson showcased a fluid 4-3-3 system during this contest and a host of players flourished with the defensive shackles removed.
Jordan Henderson was the pick of the bunch. The Liverpool man went a long way to cementing his spot in the starting XI against Italy with a performance bristling with energy and endeavor. He was superb next to the Steven Gerrard in central midfield, with his unyielding work-rate enabling the England skipper to sit deep and dictate the tempo with aplomb.
Sturridge was always a threat, as he, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck interchanged astutely as a front three. The Liverpool forward looks razor sharp heading into this World Cup, and at this juncture he’s definitely England’s most likely source of goals.
At the back, it was all very easy for the Three Lions, as the visitors lacked any kind of cutting edge. Jagielka and Cahill took their goals well, whilst the former produced a fine block in the second half to deny Peru what would have been a certain goal. Leighton Baines was also impressive and typically willing in his forays down the left-hand side.
Here’s Jagielka’s goal for England:
But there were a few concerns too. Glen Johnson was especially erratic at right-back, losing possession often and looking a little lost in advanced areas. Adam Lallana also struggled to make an impression in an orthodox central midfield berth; he’s usually played on one of the flanks for England.
As for Rooney, he was comprehensively outshone by both Sturridge and his United teammate Welbeck. Hodgson insisted that he’d have no issues about dropping big names in the build-up to this one, and the incisiveness provided by Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley in their brief cameos compared to Rooney’s ponderous showing will have certainly given the England boss food for though.
Rooney has yet to shine at a World Cup in his distinguished career and he looked far from his best again at Wembley. It’d be a big decision to drop a player who is well established as England’s talisman, but the side looked galvanized and considerably more vibrant once he was off the field.
The Wembley crowd was a cacophony of noise throughout the contest, with the supporters noticeably buoyant watching a side rife with young talent and relieved of the expectation of years past. But admittedly, there is a quiet confidence festering amongst a host of supporters that this group could cause a few shocks out in South America.
I was lucky enough to be at Wembley thanks to the Carlsberg Fan Squad and it was a truly wonderful experience. As an English football supporter, it’s the absolute pinnacle going to watch your team or the national side at the majestic home of football.
The seats were wonderful—as you can see—and the opportunity to run the rule over this England side ahead of such a hotly anticipated tournament was a genuine privilege.
A big thanks to the Carlsberg Fan Squad for helping World Soccer Talk bring the England game to our readers. The Carlsberg Fan Squad are taking 1,000 fans to the Ultimate England Experience at Wembley in October for the England v San Marino game. Head to CarlsbergFanSquad.co.uk or pick up promotional packs in store for a chance to win.