ACTION STATIONS: England's Wayne Rooney (right) does battle with Danny Alves of Brazil
ENGLAND DESERVEDLY beat five times World Cup winners Brazil 2-1 at Wembley Stadium this evening.
While the Three Lions did not exactly roar during this eagerly awaited encounter, they did just enough to give themselves a morale-boosting win against the team from south America.
Goals by Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard, with Brazil’s reply from Fred, were enough to secure success for Roy Hodgson’s troops.
Bearing in mind that Brazil are the great entertainers, there was a strangely subdued atmosphere at the home of football.
It was a night of landmarks at the famous stadium with England left-back Ashley Cole at the centre of attention by winning his 100th cap. The Chelsea player became the first black player to reach the historic figure in doing so.
Cole, 32, made his national team debut in March 2001 against Albania and became the seventh England player to reach a century of appearances.
Brazil were quickest out of the blocks with Oscar placing a shot over the bar for the Samba masters but the real action was just moments away.
The first half sprang to life with England custodian Joe Hart central to the action. On 19 minutes Hart saved Ronaldinho’s weak spot kick - and subsequent follow-up - after Jack Wilshere was adjudged to have handled in his own penalty box by referee Pedro Proenca.
The goal seemed to give the hosts confidence with both centurion Cole and right-back Glen Johnson having long range efforts which did not trouble Brazil’s in-form ‘keeper Julio Cesar.
With momentum on their side England duly took the lead with the growing influence of Wilshere at the hub. Wilshere’s ball to Arsenal team mate Theo Walcott was a thing of beauty. Walcott’s subsequent shot was saved by Cesar but Wayne Rooney pounced on the rebound and struck the ball home with a firm shot from 18 yards out on 27 minutes.
The much vaunted Brazilian wonder kid Neymar will wonder just how he missed a sitter ten minutes after England took the lead; missing a gilt edged chance after a run and cross by the dangerous Oscar.
The dangerous Walcott had the chance to get his name on the score sheet again on the 44th minute after a pass by Denny Welbeck; however he failed to take it with a weak effort.
England signalled their second half intent early. Captain Steve Gerrard hit a long range drive which troubled Cesar just seconds after the restart.
England were to rue that chance as Brazil substitute Fred capitalised on a Gary Cahill mistake to fire home the equaliser in the 48th minute.
While Hodgson’s men were still clearing their heads, moments later Fred hit the crossbar after further defensive lapses by the home side.
Later in the half Cahill looked to make amends for his error with a header from a corner which Cesar did well to save.
But there was no denying Lampard. The England sub fired home from distance in the 59th minute after good work, and a lucky bounce, by Johnson.
Brazil’s best attempt to square the match again came with seven minutes remaining. The hard-working Fred missed a decent chance after a free-flowing move that conjured up memories of the great Brazil sides of the past.
Thereafter most of the 87,453 crowd saw England stave off Brazil’s best attempts with a solid defensive display. Hodgson’s men kept their shape and when they were penetrated the confident Hart was on hand to see off any danger.