Wilshere man of the match in England's big win over Brazil

Feb 7, 2013
Bill Mann

Rooney and Lampard score in first England victory over Brazil since Gary Lineker starred in 1990


England vs Brazil

England 2 Brazil 1. The last time England beat Brazil Maggie Thatcher was still in power and Gary Lineker was the star of Match of the Day, not its presenter. The former England striker scored the crucial goal in the 1990 victory and he was at Wembley last night to see goals from Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard secure another famous win.

"Brilliant" was how Lineker described it on Twitter and those sentiments were echoed by England manager Roy Hodgson, whose side became the first England XI to score two goals in a game against Brazil since 1984.

"I'm delighted to have been able to oversee a victory," he said. "It was an all-round performance from the team, there were some very, very good moments and I thought we were good value for two goals to one."

Though the goalscorers took their share of credit, the crucial moment of the match came when referee Pedro Proença awarded the visitors a penalty on 19 minutes after Jack Wilshere's unintentional handball.

Ronaldinho – winning his 100th cap for his country - struck his spot kick low and wide to Joe Hart's left, but the England keeper guessed correctly and parried away the penalty. As the ball rebounded into the path of Ronaldinho, Hart made another fine stop before Tom Cleverley hoofed the ball out of play.

The save inspired the England side and within eight minutes they were ahead. Jack Wilshere threaded a wonderful ball through the Brazilian defence to Theo Walcott but the Arsenal frontman was denied a goal by Julio Cesar. The keeper did well to save but he was powerless to prevent Rooney sweeping the rebound home from the edge of the area.

Half-time saw the obligatory slew of substitutions that come with every international friendly, and initially it appeared Brazil had made the more effective changes. Just three minutes after the break Gary Cahill lost possession in the middle of the field and his punishment was to see Fred hammer the ball past Hart for the equaliser.

Fred almost put Brazil ahead moments later but England weathered the storm and on the hour mark Lampard – on for Cleverley – beat Cesar with a shot that went in off the woodwork. "The lads deserve a lot of credit because Brazil can't half move the ball," said Hodgson.

The England manager reserved his warmest praise for Wilshere, whose assured performance earned the 21-year-old Arsenal midfielder the Man of the Match award. "If he can keep up that level of performance, he will soon justify all the expectations and hopes, because he was very, very good."

Despite the victory, Hodgson was keeping his feet on the ground, aware that it was just a friendly and the real challenge is to ensure England qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

To do that England must win their final two qualifying group games, against San Marino and group leaders Montenegro next month. "The important thing is the group matches," agreed Hodgson. "Playing in Montenegro will be a very different experience, but the players have shown in the nine months I've been in the job there is character and fight in the team and people are prepared to put their bodies on the line."

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