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Saturday May 31, 2014 MYT 6:10:03 AM
Saturday May 31, 2014 MYT 6:10:03 AM
by mike collett
LONDON (Reuters) - England overcame some stubborn resistance from a well-organised defensive Peru side before sealing a comfortable 3-0 win in their last home World Cup warm-up match at Wembley on Friday.
England head off to their final training camp in Miami boosted by an excellent opener from Daniel Sturridge after 32 minutes which lit up a lifeless first half.
Two second-half goals from set-pieces by central defenders Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka gave England a deserved win in the first match between the two countries since they last met 52 years ago just before the 1962 World Cup in Chile.
Peru, who failed to reach this year's finals in Brazil after a poor campaign in the South American qualifiers, defended well and Jean Deza stood out in midfield with a solid performance, forcing England goalkeeper Joe Hart into two good saves.
He also had a 40-metre shot that swirled and dipped and just went over the bar.
"It was a wonderful send off to the World Cup by a quite incredible crowd," England manager Roy Hodgson told ITV.
"We had to be patient but we were dominant throughout. It is the perfect end to a perfect two weeks. I am delighted that 85,000 fans came here to wish us well on our way.
"When you play against teams with 10 men behind the ball you have to be patient but I had no doubt we would win.
"They would tire and 3-0 is the minimal acceptable achievement. It was also good for some of the young players to get out here at Wembley."
England, playing the first of three warm-up games before opening their Group D campaign against Italy in Manaus on June 14, took time to find their rhythm.
Sturridge, playing as the lone central front man, failed to make much impact until his goal when he cut in from the right just after the half-hour mark and sent a perfectly struck left-foot curler wide of goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
It was an outstanding strike from the in-form Liverpool striker who was named man of the match and told ITV: "It was difficult because Peru defended well, they were very compact.
"We have worked very hard in the week and there wasn't the match sharpness as we would have liked. It was a hard week in training."
Looking ahead to the World Cup, he added: "We don't want to make the numbers up, we are winners. That doesn't mean we will win the World Cup but we are winners and we will do our best."
England dominated possession without a great deal of pace or invention until the latter stages, although skipper Steven Gerrard, winning his 110th cap on his 34th birthday, continually found the front men from his deeper midfield role.
Wayne Rooney, playing behind Sturridge, also attempted some neat flicks and layoffs, and England finally added to their one-goal tally with later strikes from set-pieces.
Both goals came from Leighton Baines corners, with Cahill powering in a header after 65 minutes and Jagielka firing home five minutes later after keeper Fernandez dropped the ball when he clattered into his own defender Alexander Callens.
Most of the crowd entertained themselves by throwing paper aeroplanes on to the field, although the final quarter of the match was more lively than the rest of the game.
The increase in tempo came after England coach Roy Hodgson introduced some of his younger substitutes like Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, plus teenage defender John Stones who came on to earn his first cap.
England now fly to Miami where they continue their build-up with friendlies against Ecuador on Wednesday and Honduras next Saturday before their World Cup games against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
(Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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