England 3-0 Peru
England’s pre-tournament preparations got off to a flying start last night with a deserved 3-0 win over a weakened Peru. Daniel Sturridge scored an exquisite first-half goal as the national team won their final home match before leaving for Miami and Brazil.
Both teams began sluggishly; in a slow, contained way. Daniel Sturridge was put through on goal by Adam Lallana, though the Liverpool striker missed the back post from a tight angle by a few inches.
Just after the half-hour mark, with the match getting a bit feisty (Gerrard and Cruzado on yellow cards), England gained the lead. Glen Johnson, often sloppy on the night, played a quick throw to Sturridge, who ran a slalom just outside the area, before whipping a fantastic shot right into high far corner. Goalkeeper Raúl Fernández had no chance. Joe Hart was needed to claw away Jean Deza’s wildly deflected effort, before the England goalkeeper made another smart save, this time smothering Luis Ramírez’s shot right at the dead of the first period.
In the first real chance of the second half England doubled their advantage from a 65th minute corner. Leighton Baines’ delivery was pinpoint – just as we saw from the Everton man this season. Despite a fully crowded goal mouth, Gary Cahill managed to power a header into the net. The score: 2-0.
Then, five minutes later another good Baines corner was cheaply spilt by goalkeeper Fernández right at the feet of Cahill’s centre-half partner Jagielka, who diverted the ball through the keeper’s legs and into the net. 3-0, rather flattering against South American opposition.
The final twenty minutes were simply a test of whether England could finish unharmed; both physically and mentally. Both verged in the right direction. There was a debut for young Everton man John Stones. England brought on more substitutes in the form of Wilshere, Sterling, Smalling, Milner and Ross Barkley. Neither team had any more chances after The Three Lions’ third, but on a night when all of England’s on target shots found the net, they emerged 3-0 winners over visitors Peru. Friendlies in Miami against Ecuador and Honduras are the only remaining matches left before England’s World Cup opener – against Italy.