ENGLAND 0, CHILE 2
England’s preparations for next summer’s finals of the World Cup experienced its first hiccup following defeat by Chile at Wembley.
It was a massive learning experience for an England side which included three players making their debuts – goalkeeper Fraser Forster and Southampton duo Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez.
Chile, who have also qualified for Brazil, proved they will be no pushovers, even though they are not renowned as one of South America’s power houses.
They posed plenty of question of England who struggled against their pace and movement, especially from Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez, who scored both of their goals, and Jean Beausejour, of Wigan Athletic.
And England’s front line, which contained Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, laboured against a Chile defence which included Cardiff City’s Gary Medel.
England manager Roy Hodgson accepted his side was second best and Chile were worthy winners.
He said: “We have learned a lot and I said before the game that Chile were a very good side, and they proved that. They were excellent.
“We have also learned a lot about South American opposition and how good they are at keeping the ball.”
Hodgson added it was an even bigger test for his young and inexperienced side after falling behind so early in the game.
“It left us on the back foot and always chasing the game against a team which kept us at bat and which was also good at keeping the ball. Chile were good and deserved their win.”
Hodgson added that it is important the players pick themselves up for Tuesday’s friendly against Germany.
He continued: “There are lessons to be learned if we are to beat top teams like Chile and Germany and also to prepare for Brazil.
“I didn’t expect to lose but it was a risk giving a lot of players debuts and I accept responsibility for that.”
England, who also lost 2-0 to Chile in their previous meeting at Wembley 15 years earlier, could have taken an early lead through a header from Phil Jones which forced a flying save from keeper Claudio Bravo.
Chile stunned England, however, as they snatched a seventh-minute lead through Barcelona’s Sanchez.
Left-back Marcos Gonzales fired over a sweet cross and Sanchez headed home from six yards low to the right of Fraser Forster who was making his debut in goal for England. It was his 21st goal for Chile.
And the night would have got worse for England but for a fine save from Forster to keep out a shot from Beausejour.
Bravo pulled off another spectacular save, this time to turn over a 35-yard free kick from Fank Lampard which was dipping under the crossbar while an effort from James Milner was deflected and looped on to the roof of the net.
Chile continued to cause problems and had further chances to extend their lead.
Central-defender Jones was proving to be England’s most potent attacking threat as he shot just wide from a Leighton Baines corner.
England ought to have equaliser shortly before half time when Rooney released Lallana who, free on the right of the box, pulled his shot disappointingly wide.
The second half failed to reproduce the excellent football of the opening period as Chile were content to sit on their lead while England lacked the ability and nous to break through their defence.
Chile were happy to kill time especially with a succession of innocuous injuries which all needed extensive treatment.
And then deep into stoppage time they added sealed victory as Sanchez struck again.
Chile made an interception on the half-way line and released Sanchez who burst clean through before chipping Forster to round off a miserable night for England.