ENGLAND 3, PERU 0
A spectacular strike from Daniel Sturridge and two further goals from centre backs Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka ensured England left these shores for the World Cup with a moral-lifting victory under the belts.
England’s final home friendly against Peru at Wembley was no classic, but Liverpool striker Sturridge provided the spark of inspiration which may be needed in Brazil.
Sturridge conjured a goal out of nothing to make the breakthrough against a young and spirited Peru side while Cahill and Jagielka sealed victory midway through the second period.
The game also perhaps more tellingly provided a pointer as to manager Roy Hodgson’s possible starting line up for their World Cup opener against Italy in a fortnight’s time.
Joe Hart was keeper behind a back four of Glen Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka and Leighton Baines. Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson were the central-midfield pairing with Adam Lallana and Sturridge out wide with Wayne Rooney just behind front man Danny Welbeck.
Hodgson was delighted with the victory saying: “There were three pleasing things – that we came through unscathed, gained a victory and the more comfortable the better and finally the crowd and the atmosphere.
“What a send off with 85,000 fans at Wembiey and what a vote of confidence from the English football public.”
Remarkably this was only the third-ever meeting of the two countries and the first on English soil and also the first since 1962.
And it was a new era for a Peruvian side which was without Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfan who are regarded as two of the best players the country has ever produced.
Peru, who have failed to qualify for the finals of the World Cup since 1982, are hardly a power in South American or, indeed, world football.
That is the challenge for Uruguayan Pablo Bengoechea to change as this was his first game as manager as he begins the build up to next year’s Copa America in Chile.
England struggled to find a route to goal through Peru’s well organised five-man defence in what was a cautious 4-5-1 formation adopted by the visitors.
Indeed, it was Peru who created the first chance of the game as debutant Jean Deza’s shot deflected off Jagielka forcing a flying save from Joe Hart.
It needed something special to break the deadlock and Sturridge provided that with a magical goal in the 32nd minute.
Sturridge received a quick throw in from Johnson, cut in from the right and, from the edge of the box, curled a shot into the far top corner of the net, his fourth goal for England.
Hart had to be alert just before the break to keep out a shot from Luis Ramirez with his legs as Peru again troubled the keeper.
England doubled their advantage midway through the second half when Cahill powered home a header from seven yards following a corner by Baines, his third goal for his country.
Five minutes later and England made it 3-0 when Peru keeper Raul Fernandez dropped a Baines corner and Jagielka slotted home the loose ball from eight yards for his second international goal.