England took one giant leap towards next months World Cup, as they eased their way past South American opposition Peru, in a 3-0 victory at Wembley.
Daniel Sturridge capped a man of the match winning performance with a sumptuous goal from outside the 18-yard-box, as defenders Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill also found the back of the net via set pieces.
In what was England’s last friendly on home soil before they jet off to Brazil, Roy Hodgson’s men put on a fine display for the 83,000 spectators in attendance.
Hodgson will also be very pleased with the team’s efforts and will take positives from the fact that Wayne Rooney was able to make it through 65 minutes, in his first match in over a month since his groin injury. The former Liverpool manager was also able to hand a first cap to Everton youngster John Stones.
England made a tentative start to the game as Peru pressed the home sides midfield and were able to create a few opportunities. Keeper Joe Hart was forced to save well in the opening half, through shots from Luis Ramirez and Jean Deza.
It didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken however, and just after the half an hour mark Sturridge made his impact. The Liverpool striker picked up the ball in a wide area via a throw from club team mate Glen Johnson, before turning, skipping past a defender and riffling the ball past the out stretched Peruvian keeper Raul Fernandez.
The Three Lions dominated possession for much of the first half, but Peru seemed to cause a shaky England defence problems at time. A couple miss-controlled touches and Pablo Bengoechea’s team was able to pounce and get in behind the back line.
The home side were given a scare before the break as Johnson played Ramirez onside, but an onrushing Hart came off of his line to mop up any forthcoming danger.
After the interval it was a much smoother display from England, as they came out and controlled the ball better than in the first half. Keeping possession and slowing the play down frustrated Peru and the South American’s had to result in pot shots from distance. Deza was able to hit one ambitious strike from 35 yards, which Hart watched drop inches over the bar as he was scrambling back to cover.
Hodgson made his first change just after the hour mark as skipper Steven Gerrard came off to a rapturous applaud from the home crowd to be replaced by Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshire.
Seconds later and the home side doubled their lead, as Cahill leapt to nod home from a Baines corner.
Just five minutes later and England sealed the victory with Everton centre half Jagielka getting in on the action. Another deep swinging corner from Toffees teammate Baines, and Jagielka was able to react quickest to a mix-up in the Peru defence and poke home from 8 yards.
After the third England cantered to the finish line with a string of substitutions which saw Raheem Sterling, James Milner, Chris Smalling, John Stones and Ross Barkley all get action.
Sterling looked to add a different dimension to the game with his arrival as the starlet saw his chipped effort drift past the post towards the end of the match. The Liverpool wideman had to take his place on the bench as Hodgson preferred Danny Welbeck in the starting line up, but this could change come Rio.
The Wembley crowd warmed to the introduction of the youngsters from the bench, but Southampton winger Lallana took many of the plaudits on his fourth cap.
England saw out the victory to a sea of Mexican waves and paper aeroplanes being thrown pitchwards as the fans gave the squad one last cheer before they see them leave for Brazil.