If keeping good possession, giving everyone some game time,
and winning the match, was the order of the day for this friendly
then this was the perfect build up to the adventure that lies ahead
during the summer.
The game wasn't a particularly good one,
although there were some good moments, and at the end of the day it
was a job well done.
Both teams set themselves up to be tight and
determined and the first 15 minutes saw both England and Peru probing
away, trying to find gaps in two well-organised defences.
had the bulk of possession but most of the passes went from side to
side or back and few went forward.
The first semblance of a chance came when Joe Hart came swiftly
off his line to smother a through ball as Luis Ramirez threatened.
Then, just before the 20 minute mark, Jean Deza ran at the
defenders and tried a toe poke of a shot which took a wicked
deflection off of Phil Jagielka's heel and almost looped over Hart in
goal. But the custodian,
who looked really sharp all evening, made a great one-handed save to
prevent a freak goal.
responded by going straight down the other end and creating their
first chance of the match.
Adam Lallana drove at the Peru
defence, but as he was blocked the ball ran into the path of Daniel
Sturridge, but the Liverpool man just pulled
his shot the wrong side of the far post.
A booking for Rinaldo Cruzado, after a bad
challenge on Steven Gerrard, was the only thing of note for a spell,
as Peru were proving to be a well-organised and efficient team, and it
would need something special from England to unlock the door.
Gerrard also received a yellow card, somewhat harshly, for a
strong but fair tackle, but soon the fans rose as one to acclaim a
fine goal. After 33
produced that piece of magic that they and the crowd craved.
Glen Johnson's determination won a throw-in down the right hand
corner. He took the throw
quickly and gave it to his Liverpool teammate
Sturridge. The in-form
striker showed quick feet, cut inside, and curled the most delicious
of left-foot shots into the far top corner with the keeper totally
beaten. It was a wonderful
goal from Sturridge and showed just what he is capable of.
Two minutes later Lallana won a corner and Wayne
Rooney headed Gerrard's cross just over at the near post.
The feeling was now that the ascendency was with
and Danny Welbeck also headed over the bar, from a Leighton Baines
free-kick. The Manchester
United striker might have done a little better, as he was well placed,
but he the header went up instead of down.
A lapse in concentration then almost cost
almost found an equaliser.
Ramirez beat the offside trap and had a one on one with Hart, but the
goalkeeper spread himself brilliantly and diverted the ball for a
corner to preserve the deserved half-time lead.
That was to be Peru's
best chance of the match.
began the second half in control and they held possession well without
showing that cutting edge up front.
were not out of it yet though and in the 54th minute Deza
almost produced a brand of Peruvian magic.
He picked the ball up on the halfway line and ran at
He wasted no time and hit a fierce shot from long range which
had Hart scrambling and only just cleared
Deza had another chance on 63 minutes but this time Jagielka
made a terrific block with a last ditch tackle.
Generally though, England
were still in command and in the 65th minute they virtually
made the game safe with a second goal.
Welbeck and Baines combined to win a corner, but before the
kick was taken England
brought on Jack Wilshere, and other substitutions were waiting to be
made. Whilst the officials
were sorting them out the referee waved play on and Baines took the
corner. The cross was met
by Gary Cahill and the ball nestled in the Peruvian net.
Sterling then replaced the subdued Rooney and
also made changes.
was soon looking lively and five minutes later
put the result beyond doubt.
Again the goal came from a Baines corner.
As the cross came in goalkeeper Raul Fernandez tried to catch
the ball but dropped it under pressure from a number of bodies in the
box. Jagielka needed no
second invitation and he quickly snapped up the gift to fire the ball
There were several more substitutions in the
remaining 20 minutes, and Chris Smalling, Ross Barkley, James Milner
and debutant John Stones were all sent on to gain valuable experience
against South American opposition.
The only other chance in those remaining minutes fell to
Sterling, who really should have scored when set up by Barkley, but
could only push his shot wide of the far post.
So, a good night's work for England and the crowd
gave them a great send-off as they head for the World Cup.
Some more warm-up games lie ahead before the real stuff starts,
and acclimatisation could be the key as the big games approach.
It's going to be fun, isn't it?