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England vs. Peru: International Friendly Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30: Gary Cahill of England celebrates scoring their second goal with Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Danny Welbeck of England uring the international friendly match between England and Peru at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Alex DimondUK Lead WriterMay 30, 2014

England cruised to a 3-0 victory over Peru at Wembley on Friday evening, as Roy Hodgson appeared to road-test his preferred starting XI and formation for this summer’s World Cup.

A fine individual strike from Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring before Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka added a certain gloss to proceedings in the second half with finishes from set pieces, but it was the performances of his players in various roles that will have been of greater importance to the head coach.

Both the flaws and the advantages of a surprisingly fluid system were on display before the inevitable raft of substitutions spoiled the flow of the match, with England’s interchanging forward line perplexing Peru on numerous occasions—but also leaving them somewhat porous at the back, with only some smart saves from Joe Hart preserving the home side’s clean sheet.

Nevertheless, there were arguably more positives than negatives to take from the run-out, with Hodgson now likely to have a better idea of what still needs to be worked on in England’s two remaining international friendlies in Florida next week.

The coach told ITV (h/t BBC):

It was a wonderful send off to the World Cup by a quite incredible crowd. 

When you play against teams with 10 men behind the ball you have to be patient but I had no doubt we would win. They would tire and 3-0 is the minimal acceptable achievement.

It was also good for some of the young players to get out here at Wembley.

Hodgson’s starting XI selection seemed to offer a lot of tactical flexibility, making it hard to predict with any certainty the formation that would be used during the game. This was borne out over the first 45 minutes, with England—particularly in midfield and attack—interchanging positions and shapes with impressive regularity.

The “base” formation appeared to be a 4-3-3, however, with Jordan Henderson in the centre of midfield and Gerrard and Adam Lallana operating around him. Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney then operated as an attacking trio, swapping positions frequently to unsettle their opponents.

Perhaps being told to replicate how they are expected to play in Brazil, the home side began the match at a relatively low tempo, content to pass the ball around and let the full-backs, or occasionally Lallana (whose movements seemed to see the setup move toward a 4-2-3-1 at times), inject pace into the game with surging runs from deep.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30:  Luis Advincula of Peru is closed down by Danny Welbeck and Steven Gerrard of England during the international friendly match between England and Peru at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Warren Littl
Warren Little/Getty Images

This approach took a while to settle into, though, with the first 15 minutes lacking in excitement or clear chances. Indeed, it was Peru who first had a sight of goal, as Hart did well to claw away Jean Deza’s deflected strike at goal.

Gradually England improved, growing more comfortable with their unfamiliar setup. Lallana’s first surging run ended up with Sturridge firing a loose ball narrowly wide of goal from eight yards, before Alberto Rodriguez had to make a panicked clearance as Gerrard nearly found his Liverpool team-mate with a perceptive header.

Gerrard’s next significant involvement saw that real rarity, a yellow card in an international friendly. The Three Lions captain was felled by Rinaldo Cruzado in dangerous fashion; with the referee perhaps sensing revenge when he booked Gerrard moments late for a hard but fair tackle on the energetic Deza.

Moments later, England lifted the torpor that was descending on Wembley with the opening goal. It was one all of Sturridge’s making, the striker shifting onto his favoured left foot on the edge of the box before curling a beautiful strike into the top corner. A few more of those in Brazil would be very welcome.

Relieved of the pressure of needing to break the deadlock England had further chances before half-time, although neither Rooney nor Welbeck could find the target with headed chances.

As a result, Peru could have evened things up on the stroke of half-time, Hart bailing Sturridge out with a fine stop at his near post after the forward had let Deza run free down the right.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 30:  Raul Fernandez of Peru fails to stop Daniel Sturridge of England (not pictured) scoring the opening goal during the international friendly match between England and Peru at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2014 in London, England.  (P
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Neither side made changes to start the second half, perhaps the clearest indication that the starting XI Hodgson named could be his preferred selection later this summer.

Perhaps as a result the game continued to be played at a relaxed pace, with England’s midfielders frequently eschewing the probing ball over the top to keep possession closer to home. Peru had just one decent sight of goal, but Jagielka was alert to cover Cahill and block Deza’s low shot.

The changes finally started to arrive around the hour-mark—Gerrard and Rooney preserved, giving Jack Wilshere and Raheem Sterling their chance—and within 10 minutes the game was effectively over as a contest. Both goals came from corners, albeit from different sides.

The first saw Bainesoutswinger met by Cahill with a powerful effort, before his centre-back partner Jagielka got in on the act five minutes later after the ball fell perfectly for him as Raul Fernandez fumbled an attempted clearance.

Hodgson, now sensing such a one-sided game could teach him little more about his options, changed further—bringing James Milner into midfield and Chris Smalling into defence. This saw England shift more permanently to a 4-2-3-1, with Wilshere playing alongside Henderson and Sturridge leading the line.

John Stones was then given his debut at right-back, replacing Baines as Johnson switch to the other side. Ross Barkley completed Hodgson’s six substitutions, as he had a brief look at a number of different formations and combinations.

Unsurprisingly that removed much of the rhythm of the match, especially with Peru contend to limit the damage as the game entered the final minutes. Welbeck and Barkley combined to create one final chance, as Sterling’s lob sailed wide from just inside the box.

It perhaps should have finished 4-0, but this game was never going to be about the scoreline.

Hodgson added: "We had to be patient but we were dominant throughout. It is the perfect end to a perfect two weeks. I am delighted that 85,000 fans came here to wish us well on our way."

"It's a case of not going out there to make the numbers up," Sturridge told ITV, when asked about the challenge England will soon face in Brazil.

"Everyone wants to win… I'm a winner, all the players are winners. It doesn't necessarily mean we're going to win the World Cup, but we're winners, so, you know, we'll do our best."

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

 

Player Ratings

England Player Ratings
PlayerRating
Joe Hart7
Glen Johnson6
Gary Cahill7
Phil Jagielka7
Leighton Baines7
Steven Gerrard7
Jordan Henderson8
Adam Lallana7
Danny Welbeck6
Wayne Rooney6
Daniel Sturridge7
Substitutions
Jack Wilshere7
Raheem Sterling6
Chris Smalling6
James Milner6
John Stones6
Ross Barkley6
B/R UK
Peru Player Ratings
PlayerRating
Raul Fernandez6
Alberto Rodriguez6
Alexander Callens6
Christian Ramos6
Luis Castrillon6
Yoshimar Yotun6
Rinaldo Cruzado7
Andre Carrillo6
Jean Deza8
Josepmir Ballon6
Luis Ramirez7
Substitutions
Paola Hurtado6
Raul Ruidiaz6
Hansell Riojas6
Mario Velarde6
Edison Flores6
B/R UK

 

What's Next?

England's next friendly is against Ecuador on June 4. They then complete their World Cup warm-ups with a game against Honduras on June 7. Both games take place in Florida, United States.

Peru, meanwhile, will next help Switzerland with their own preparations for Brazil—facing the Europeans in Bern on June 3.

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