GK: Joe Hart – 7
Clearly enthused by the prospect of facing a team so historically synonymous with style, Hart dropped a shoulder to sell Ronaldinho a dummy inside a minute. A more conventional contribution was his fine double save after 19 minutes to deny the same player from the penalty spot and then from the follow-up. Looked nervy at the start of the second half as England suddenly and briefly wilted but otherwise impressed.
RB: Glen Johnson – 7
In tremendous form for Liverpool this season, though often from left-back, Johnson was a typically energetic presence. His partnership with Walcott improved as the game wore on and he coped admirably with the fleeting threat posed by the disappointing Neymar. Now well ahead of Kyle Walker in the pecking order.
CB: Chris Smalling – 6
The Manchester United defender was making his first England appearance under Hodgson after starting ahead of Phil Jagielka and did nothing to suggest he is anything but a solid long-term option for his country. Contributed to a worryingly shaky start to the second half when Brazil almost capitalised on his error to score a quick second through Fred, but soon improved.
CB: Gary Cahill – 5
Cahill enjoyed a largely assured first half, the highlight of which was his turn of pace to come across and deny Neymar with a superb sliding tackle in the box, but his terrible error gave Brazil an equaliser at the start of the second half as he tried to dribble out from the back. It was more Roque Junior than Aldair.
LB: Ashley Cole – 6
Cole’s reward for reaching 100 caps was initially a job marking the much-hyped Neymar, though he actually struggled more when the Santos forward swapped flanks with his Chelsea team-mate Oscar, who repeatedly got in behind the left-back with well-timed bursts from the right. Not one of his most sparkling performances across 12 years in an England shirt.
MD: Steven Gerrard – 7
Tasked with performing in a rather unfamiliar holding role behind Cleverley and Wilshere, the Liverpool skipper was an influential presence as England comprehensively won the midfield battle. Sitting deep, Gerrard was able to ping nice passes through for Johnson and Walcott in the right channel and he rarely put a foot wrong in a typically mature and composed performance that helped deliver a first win over Brazil since 1990.
MD: Jack Wilshere – 8
The midfielder’s first start under Hodgson was a roaring success. From snapping into a lusty challenge on Adriano after 15 minutes to troubling the Brazil defence with a succession of probing passes, Wilshere was at his lively best, prising the defence open on 26 minutes as Walcott’s shot from his pass rebounded out to Rooney for the opener. He pushed forward after Lampard’s introduction and his influence dipped somewhat, but still richly deserved his man-of-the-match award.
MC: Tom Cleverley – 5
Contributed one dangerous cross from the right after 15 minutes but otherwise languished in the shadows of Wilshere and, to a lesser extent, Gerrard. Was unable to influence play in the final third like he can and struggled to find space away from Paulinho and Ramires. Was removed for Lampard at half-time after a performance that suggested he may be more of an asset further forward.
AMR: Theo Walcott – 6
Enthusiastically exploited space left by Adriano as he drove into the Brazil box with purpose, but his rich seam of goals and assists with Arsenal did not continue on international duty. He continually troubled the Barca left-back with his pace in the second half and was unlucky to see two superb crosses go unconverted, but hesitancy at crucial moments slightly undermined his efforts. His shot was knocked to Rooney to slot home the opener.
AML: Danny Welbeck – 5
A return of three in three for England suggested a striker in form for his country but Hodgson’s decision to utilise a three-man midfield meant he had to shift left. Welbeck wasted one glorious opportunity when stabbing over after 21 minutes, and though he contributed to some nice combinations, he was unable to leave his mark on the game.
ST: Wayne Rooney – 8
Took his international tally to 33 goals with an accomplished finish when Julio Cesar deflected Walcott’s shot into his path and his assist for Lampard’s goal in the second half was a masterclass in understated excellence. Rooney often performs in a deeper role for England but demonstrated against one of the world’s better sides that he can be equally persuasive when leading the line.
Frank Lampard (for Cleverley, HT) - 7
The midfielder scored with a sumptuous effort after 63 minutes, a cushioned first-time effort off his instep going in off the post, and otherwise had an unfussy evening, sitting comfortably alongside Gerrard.
Leighton Baines (for Cole, HT) – 6
Was denied a start that many felt he deserved as Wembley instead applauded Cole’s 100th cap, and a 45-minute showing was not enough for the Everton defender to display his best form. Gave no cause for concern at the back but contributed little in attack either.
James Milner (for Welbeck, 61) – 6
Milner does what Milner does best: unspectacular reliability. He was a steadying influence in a wide position when replacing Welbeck and provided balance for the more dynamic Walcott, and later Lennon.
Aaron Lennon (for Walcott, 75) – 6
Had little time to influence the game after replacing Walcott and saw too little of the ball to have a chance of replicating his brilliant club form with Tottenham.
- Sports & Recreation
- Theo Walcott