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Sturridge curls in a beauty as England push Peru aside

So, they’re gonna win the World Cup then?

ENGLAND WILL HEAD to the Americas with optimism intact after overcoming Peru 3-0 in their final pre-World Cup friendly game on home soil at Wembley Stadium on Friday.

In the first of his side’s three warm-up matches, manager Roy Hodgson saw man-of-the-match Daniel Sturridge put England ahead with a sweet 20-yard strike midway through the first half.

Centre-backs Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka got on the scoresheet in the second period to complete a straightforward evening for England, who travel to Miami for a pre-tournament training camp on Sunday.

They will face Ecuador and Honduras there next week before opening their World Cup campaign against Group D rivals Italy in the Brazilian city of Manaus on June 14.

Hodgson was also able to hand a debut to young Everton defender John Stones, while he will have drawn encouragement from the performance of Adam Lallana and a late cameo from the fit-again Jack Wilshere.

Defeat took Peru’s run of games without victory to seven, but new coach Pablo Bengoechea had selected an experimental squad shorn of big-name players such as Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfan.


Hodgson opted to select Danny Welbeck instead of in-form Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, with the Manchester United man lining up on the left flank in a conventional 4-2-3-1 system.

It was the teams’ first meeting since 1962 and Peru threatened first, with Joe Hart leaping to field a deflected shot from Montpellier youngster Jean Reza, but England cranked into gear in the last 20 minutes of the first half.

Having wastefully lashed wide with his weaker right foot following a buccaneering run from Lallana, Sturridge made amends in the 32nd minute with an excellent strike that took his international goal tally to four.

After collecting a throw-in from Glen Johnson wide on the England right, he worked his way inside two defenders to the edge of the box before whipping a glorious left-foot shot into the top-left corner.

Wayne Rooney then headed over from a corner but it took a smart block from Hart to keep the scores level after the ponderous Johnson played Luis Ramirez onside moments before half-time.

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For all Lallana’s darting enterprise, England continued to toil somewhat early in the second half and Deza almost embarrassed Hart with an ambitious 35-yard shot that landed on the roof of the net.

Jagielka was obliged to slide in to thwart the livewire Deza after Johnson gave the ball away, but Cahill headed in from a Leighton Baines corner in the 65th minute to give England breathing space.

Five minutes later Jagielka stabbed home the third goal after visiting goalkeeper Raul Fernandez allowed another Baines corner to squirm from his grasp.

Sterling, Wilshere, Chris Smalling, James Milner, Ross Barkley and Stones all entered the fray in the latter stages, while the avoidance of injuries completed a satisfactory evening for Hodgson.

- © AFP, 2014

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