World Cup: Bright England, blunt England

World Cup: Bright England, blunt England
England's Daniel Sturridge (R) scores a goal during their international friendly soccer match against Peru at Wembley Stadium in London May 30, 2014.



(Daniel Sturridge 32, Gary Cahill 65, Phil Jagielka 70)




In a game with few outstanding performers, the Liverpool striker shone brightest, capping his display with a brilliant opening goal. He was lively, enterprising and confident, carrying on from where he left off after a fine season with Liverpool, who finished runners-up in the English Premier League.

While he made clear efforts to link up with support striker Wayne Rooney, and vice versa, it was also obvious that they need more games to build up their understanding on the field.

Sturridge's rise to the fore, though, reduces the reliance on Rooney for goals. 

At the level he's operating on, he looks a certain World Cup starter in Hodgson's side.


The presence of Lallana gives England the sort of cutting edge they lacked at the European Championship two years ago.

Blessed with superb technical skills and quick thinking, the Southampton man floated between the lines to add plenty of dynamism to England's attack.

Even though he started out on the right, it was clear the manager had given him licence to roam.

His off-the-ball running stood out, as did his willingness to run into the penalty box.

One such foray in the 20th minute saw him burst through the Peruvian defence, before stabbing the ball to Sturridge, who flashed his close-range shot inches wide.

He is the element of surprise in the England team.


For all the talk about tactics and formations, results often still hinge on set-pieces.

Twice against Peru, the Three Lions pulled off what they practised on the training ground.

Gary Cahill's header for the team's second goal, and Phil Jagielka's close-range stab for the third, were results of set-plays.

In the duo, England have two able men with the aerial and physical prowess to make them count.

It should be noted, too, that both deliveries came from Everton's Leighton Baines, who is not too shabby at going direct from free-kicks as well.

Given that they also have Steven Gerrard to whip them in, opponents will do well to avoid unnecessary fouls against the English in Brazil.


Hodgson can go into this World Cup knowing that he has more quality on the bench than he had at Euro 2012.

In their quarter-final loss to Italy two years ago, he had only Theo Walcott available as an impact substitute, even if Andy Carroll and a young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were on the bench as well.

Against Peru, he fielded what looked like his first 11 for Brazil, but still had an excellent group of players waiting on the sidelines.

In fact, England seemed to attack more fluently after Raheem Sterling and Jack Wilshere came on for Rooney and Gerrard respectively, although some may argue that the game had opened up by then.

Young Ross Barkley didn't look out of place when he was introduced late in the game.

Frank Lampard and Oxlade-Chamberlain, now more mature, are two other useful weapons in his squad.

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