Goals from Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard gave England a 2-1 friendly win over Brazil at Wembley, their first since 1990.
Rooney despatched a rebound after Julio Cesar had denied Theo Walcott to give the home side the edge after an impressive first-half display.
It was almost for nothing when the Three Lions began the second 45 in shaky fashion and an error from Gary Cahill gifted substitute Fred the leveller three minutes into his appearance from the bench, but England were able to return to their confident play and re-take the lead.
Dodgy defending at the other end allowed Rooney to set up Lampard, who also came on for the second half, for a delightful finish which secured a rare victory for the nation over the mighty Brazil, their first in nine attempts.
England hadn’t enjoyed a victory over Brazil in 23 years, since Gary Lineker’s only goal on March 28 1990 sealed a pre-World Cup friendly win at the old incarnation of the national stadium.
Roy Hodgson named a starting XI with enterprise and intent, underscoring his desire to become the first England boss since the late, great Sir Bobby Robson to conquer the five-time world champions and those players returned the investment in them with a bright first 45 minutes.
With Rooney operating as a number 10, sandwiched by the dynamic wide threat of Walcott and Danny Welbeck, the sterling service provided by Steven Gerrard, Tom Cleverley and especially Jack Wilshere was consistently turned into hard work for the Brazil back line.
Julio Cesar kept out a 10th-minute Rooney header from one of several early corner kicks the hosts won, though the whistle had sounded for a sly shove by the Manchester United man.
But despite England winning early exchanges and Cahill doing a good job of stifling the threat of Neymar, Ronaldinho’s cross from the left on 19 minutes caught the arm of Wilshere and referee Pedro Proenca pointed straight to the spot.
But Ronaldinho, back in the international set up over a decade after his famous free-kick sent the Three Lions out of the 2002 World Cup, was unable to find the net from this set piece as Hart saved from 12 yards before he and Cleverley denied two follow-up attempts.
The home side soon returned to their regular game and continued to put their guests on the back foot, until the breakthrough came in the 27th minute.
Walcott had been guilty of drifting inside from the right too early a couple of times while in possession, but this time made his move perfectly. Though Cesar got a foot to his shot, Rooney was well positioned to sweep home the rebound.
Though England remained the better side in the first half and the threat of Neymar largely kept in check, the Santos man made it to the far post unmarked for Oscar’s 37th-minute cross, only to slide a sitter off-target.
England’s winning approach took temporary leave at the start of the second period, having made two half-time changes to the visitors’ three, and when Cahill ran into danger in his own final third it allowed Fred to collect the ball and neatly restore parity.
A minute later and the replacement striker almost had two in two, four minutes after coming on, as more nightmare defending allowed him to rattle the crossbar from outside the area.
Lampard finally began to settle in alongside Wilshere and Gerrard, and the hosts returned to calm and steady possession, leading to another goal on the hour.
Marcos Arouca, another half-time replacement, attempted a short pass inside his own box under pressure and gave the ball straight to Rooney, who provided Lampard with enough space to send a first-time effort in off the near upright.
And though the away side took over possession for the final 10 minutes in an effort to snatch another equaliser, England held on for a result which broke a long drought against their decorated adversaries and, more importantly, offered a glimpse of what Hodgson’s England could accomplish.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jack Wilshere, England - 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.
- Sports & Recreation
- Wayne Rooney
- Jack Wilshere
- Frank Lampard