England’s buildup to the World Cup started with a 3-0 against Peru. Despite winning by a large scoreline, the result is flattering, because England did not play as well as the scoreline would suggest.
England lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with a mix of youth and experience. Roy Hodgson chose to play Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck on the wings, which gave England two hardworking players, but it also left the squad without a lot of width. The first-half was very unexciting and the ball often got stuck in midfield. England struggled to break down the Peru defense, and the lack of width really hurt them. England did manage to create one good chance, which Daniel Sturridge capitalized on in the 33rd minute. Sturridge collected Glen Johnson’s throw-in and curled the balled into the top corner, from outside the box. It was a beautiful, curling effort, that left the keeper with no chance. Peru had an opportunity on the eve of half-time, after Johnson played Luis Ramirez onside, but Joe Hart saved well, and England went in 1-0 up.
The second-half was a lot more open than the first-half, and both teams had good opportunities to score. With the score at 1-0, Phil Jagielka made a terrific block on a Peru shot, and moments later England scored from a corner. In the 65th minute, Leighton Baines whipped in a corner that Gary Cahill met with his head to blast past the Peru goalkeeper, Raul Fernandez. Five minutes later, Fernandez was at fault for England’s third goal. He dropped Baines’ corner and the ball fell to Jagielka’s feet, which he smashed between Fernandez’s legs to make the score 3-0. The third goal effectively killed off the game. Although, both teams had chances, neither did enough to test either goalkeeper. England fans will be glad to see their side score three goals, but on another day, the result could have been a lot different.
The last 20 minutes of the game were very comfortable for England. Peru had possession but they appeared content to keep it without trying to score. England definitely deserved to win the game, but they were made to work for it, especially in the first-half. The players struggled to breakdown the opposition, and although they managed to score, it came from one player’s brilliance, not the team playing well. I think that Hodgson needs to play some of his younger players, particularly the attacking ones. Lallana and Welbeck did alright on the wings, but neither of them offered a threat, and Lallana kept playing too centrally. I hope in the next game that Hodgson starts Raheem Sterling so that England has a player running at defenders, instead of just trying to play one killer pass. The biggest positive from this game was that England looked very assured in keeping possession, particularly from the 45th minute-65th minute, but the biggest negative was the right side of the formation.
The weakest area on the team looks to be the right side of the field. Lallana played well, but he kept getting sucked into the middle
of the field, which took away from England’s width. It allowed Johnson to come forward a lot, but he continually got caught out of position. If I were in England’s group, and I watched this game, I would be looking to target Johnson. He got caught out of position throughout the game, and Peru’s best chance came when he played Rodriguez onside. If Phil Jones is fit for the World Cup, it will be interesting to see who Hodgson selects because I don’t think Johnson had a good game.
England got the win, and it was a win they deserved. They had better chances, and took advantage of them. On another day, though, they could have conceded a couple and been made to play a panicky game. I think the result flatters them, although Hodgson should be pleased about how well the team kept possession.