Thursday, February 7, 2013

Match Report - England 2-1 Brazil

Frank Lampard celebrates his winning goal
with a trademark point to the sky.

England recorded an unlikely 2-1 victory over Brazil at Wembley thanks to a stunning winner from substitute midfielder Frank Lampard.

A Brazil side boasting world famous stars Neymar and Ronaldinho alongside Premier League favourites Ramires, Oscar and Julio Cesar were tonight’s prestigious opponents in a celebratory friendly match held in order to commemorate 150 years of the FA, the governing body of English football.

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney calmly steered home the opener through a crowd of Brazilian bodies after goalkeeper Julio Cesar had done well to originally deny Theo Walcott’s low effort. Only moments before, England goalkeeper Joe Hart had made a brilliant double save from a Ronaldinho penalty, awarded by referee Pedro Proenca when Jack Wilshere was deemed to have blocked a cross with his hand.

Much was expected of sought-after 21-year-old Santos striker Neymar who is attracting interest from a host of European clubs, including Barcelona, but he failed to impress on a disappointing night for Brazil as he wasted his only notable chance, firing wildly over the crossbar after a dangerous cross from Oscar.

Brazil made several changes at half time, including veteran Fluminense striker Fred whose first touch brought a classy equaliser and duly punished the hesitant Gary Cahill who was caught in possession by Lucas Moura.

England pushed for a winner and looked threatening on the counter attack as the pace of Arsenal midfielders Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere continued to cause problems for a Brazilian defence captained by Chelsea centre-half David Luiz.

It was on the hour mark, that Luiz’s Stamford Bridge team-mate Frank Lampard, brought on to replace Tom Cleverley at the heart of England’s midfield curled home a superb winner following an inviting touch from Wayne Rooney, as he continues a fine run of goal-scoring form for both club and country.

The result was just one of several positives during a successful night for English football, as ever-present left-back Ashley Cole became the seventh Englishman to reach a centurion of caps as he started the one hundredth match of his International career. Jack Wilshere impressed in midfield alongside Captain Steven Gerrard and played a full 90 minutes on his return to International football after a lengthy fifteen month lay-off with an ankle injury.      

Roy Hodgson becomes only the fourth manager in history to mastermind an England team to victory over Brazil as he looks to build on his side’s strong performance ahead of the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

The newly appointed Brazil coach and former Chelsea boss Luis Felipe Scolari will know his squad didn’t play to their full potential during his first game back in charge. The Brazilian Football Confederation hired Scolari with hopeful expectation after he lead the nation to a record fifth World Cup victory in 2002. With media and public pressure already intense, his team will need to improve if they are to have a chance at the 2014 finals next summer.  

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