Thursday 07 February 2013
Wednesday was a memorable night for Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard as their goals helped England to their first victory over Brazil since 1990.
Rooney is in a rich vein of form having scored three goals in his last two matches for Manchester United and the striker produced his 33rd England goal as he opened the scoring in the high-profile friendly at Wembley Stadium.
Although Brazil, who would have taken the lead themselves had Manchester City’s Joe Hart not saved a Ronaldinho penalty, equalised early in the second half through Fred, second-half substitute Lampard curled a Rooney assist past Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar and in off a post for his 27th international goal in 94 appearances, to crown a significant five days for the 34-year-old Chelsea midfielder.
The goals have dried up of late for Nikica Jelavic but the Everton striker warmed up for his side’s trip to Manchester United on Sunday with a strike in Croatia’s 4-0 defeat of South Korea at Craven Cottage. Fulham forward Mladen Petric also made the most of the familiar surroundings with a goal.
Former Fulham manager Chris Coleman also had reasons to be cheerful as his Wales side overcame Austria 2-1 at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium. Gareth Bale set the ball rolling with the opening goal before Sam Vokes become the first player other than the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder to score for Wales since November 2011.
Aaron Ramsey, however, did not play after injuring his calf in training and the former Wales captain is one of three Arsenal players who have returned to north London with injury concerns. Laurent Koscielny also suffered a calf problem in France’s 2-1 defeat by Germany, while fellow centre-back Thomas Vermaelen did not feature for Belgium due to the ankle problem that kept him out of the Gunners’ recent win over Stoke City.
In friendlies elsewhere, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero scored as Argentina rattled off three first-half goals in a 3-2 defeat of Sweden, for whom West Bromwich Albion defender Jonas Olsson got on the scoresheet, while Ecuador won by the same scoreline with the help of Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia’s second-minute header and a spectacular winner by former Manchester City forward Felipe Caicedo.
Meanwhile, Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard produced the first of Belgium’s goals as they edged a last-gasp 2-1 win against Slovakia and goals in either half by Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark and Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan helped Republic of Ireland to a 2-0 success against Poland.
There were mixed emotions for Tottenham’s Clint Dempsey, who was involved in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in which he scored a spectacular opening goal for the United States. However, Honduras hit back to inflict a 2-1 defeat that has dented the Americans' hopes of reaching the finals in Brazil next year.