KEIR RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: England manager Roy Hodgson was a satisfied man as his team were waved off on their World Cup Odyssey with a comfortable 3-0 win over a young and experimental Peruvian team.
Daniel Sturridge, arrowing in from the right, curled home a superb opening goal in the 32nd minute with central defenders Gary Cahill (65) and Phil Jagielka (70) heading home corners from left and right in the second half.
Hodgson brought on a full complement of six substitutes to leave watching spies from Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in the 83,578 crowd with little impression of what to expect when it comes to the serious business in Manaus, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte.
Before then England head for warm-up training in Florida and their two remaining pre-finals friendlies against Ecuador and and Honduras in Miami.
Wembley’s imminent next match – boxing’s grudge return between Carl Froch and George Groves – promises to be a great deal more competitive.
But for Hodgson all the concerns within and beyond the game were about preparations for Brazil.
He said: “The most important thing was to come through it unscathed, to get a victory and the more comfortable the better – though it didn’t look like it would be that comfortable in the first half until Daniel Sturridge came up with that fantastic goal – and the last point was the crowd and the atmosphere.
“What a send-off, what a tremendous vote of confidence for these players from the England footballing public. We’ve had a great couple of weeks’ training so it was fantastic to end it that way.”
Peru coach Pablo Bengoechea acknowledged a difficult game for his young, experimental team.
He said: “We were playing against a top side saying goodbye to their before they go to the World Cup. England had more possession and we struggled to get the ball off them but in the first half they didn’t hurt us with that possession and we created three chances for ourselves.
“I suppose the England manager will be reasonably satisfied. For him, the serious busines starts in two weeks’ time. They’re in a tough group. The key will be the first round of matches. Whoever gets three points in the first games will be set up nicely to come through the group stage.”
Peru’s focus is the Copa America next year but Bengoechea was clear that this game was merely “the very start of a new cycle.”
He added: “We are learning now about this squad but this game was nothing to do with the Copa America. For example, this was a game against a European side and the Copa America is all about South American football.
“One thing we do need is to defend better at set pieces. We lost one goal after a throw-in and two to corners. This is something we have to work on.”