Sturridge stunner highlight of the night in ordinary display
A wonderful curling effort from Daniel Sturridge outside the area, as well as two set piece goals from both centre backs Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka secured a 3-0 victory for England against a youthful and depleted Peru.
The South Americans could not rely on the likes of Claudio Pizarro, Jefferson Farfan, Juan Manuel Vargas, Carlos Zambrano and Paolo Guerrero, as they were not in the squad, but the young side were certainly not without their chances.
Joe Hart showed exactly how important he could be in Brazil. He managed to claw away a testing deflected shot from Jean Deza, as well as stopping a close angled effort from Luis Ramirez with his foot.
It seems that Roy Hodgson played largely the XI that would start the first World Cup game with Italy on June 14th – the Three Lions are 11/5 to win that fixture.
The only two in the line-up against Peru, that would seemingly be doubts to begin England’s opening tournament match, are Jordan Henderson and Danny Welbeck.
While the Liverpool midfielder, although did nothing spectacular, impressed in the centre of the park, linking up well with his Liverpool teammates and others, the latter did not.
It is hard to see why Hodgson continues to pick Welbeck who, in the last two seasons, has scored just 10 times in 52 Premier League appearances for Manchester United.
The 23-year-old’s performance once again was certainly not without effort, but so often did the ball come to his feet and nothing came of it. His first touch, passing, dribbling, composure and finishing product lacked everything that a man sat on the England bench has possessed and produced so often this season for his club. Raheem Sterling.
Liverpool winger Sterling’s nine goals, five assists and all-round performances this season for the Reds were crucial to their impressive second-place finish in the league.
The Jamaican-born wideman did come on for the final 25 minutes in place of Wayne Rooney, though, and showed glimpses of what he can offer to an otherwise flair-lacking England.
Perhaps Hodgson is saving teenager Sterling after such a long and testing campaign, and wants to wait to unleash him against the Italians. With two more friendlies to go, however, expect more rotations.
Ecuador will be England’s next opponents on June 4th, before facing Honduras – both games in Miami – in their final match before the finals. The Three Lions are priced odds-on at 5/6 to win the former fixture, and 1/2 in the latter.
England are in Group D at the World Cup and, after Italy, face Uruguay and Costa Rica at the first hurdle. They are second-equal favourites both to top that pool at 2/1, and to qualify to the last 16 at 8/15.