So the Samba stars came to London town and the Three Lions took them down as all three of Chelsea’s Blue Lions made key contributions: Frank Lampard scored a stunning winner with a peach of a curling shot from the edge of the penalty box on sixty minutes; Ashley Cole was affectionately applauded by the supporters as he started his 100th game for England (unbelievably all as a starter) smashing a good looking, if slightly speculative effort over the bar from outside the box in the first half before being subbed at half time for his understudy – Everton’s emerging Leighton Baines; and Gary Cahill got carried away by the occasion and tried to play the ball out of defense but overran the ball, got dispossessed and 2 seconds later Fred had dispatched the equaliser into Joe Hart’s net with a sublime finish from the edge of the box only three minutes after the restart.
Roy Hodgson’s England team’s 2-1 Wembley win was their first over Brazil since 1990 – it was a good performance overall where they rode their luck at times (as you almost always have to against the attacking flair of Brazil) with Brazil’s own centurion, Ronaldinho, having his rather weak penalty brilliantly saved by Joe Hart and his follow up even more brilliantly saved by Hart with Tom Cleverley making sure Neymar could not turn the 2nd rebound in. Neymar also missed a clear cut chance in the first half when he knocked a perfect cross over the bar when he looked certain to score. Other than that chance Neymar was kept relatively quiet by Cahill who had a relatively good game if you wipeout his clanger which led to the equalizer and he almost made amends for his mistake going close to scoring with a header which he actually “shouldered” at the goal but it still required a good save by the in-form Julio Cesar in the Brazil goal.
Ashley Cole said that he was “overwhelmed” and felt “…kind of speechless..” by the reaction he got from the Wembley crowd as he was given a very warm reception by the assembled support and was not disrespected by any booing from the minority of idiots who usually have to be heard. It was gratifying to see Cole honored for his achievement of winning 100 England caps in the right way.
But the headlines were quite rightly stolen by Chelsea’s talismanic midfielder – veteran Frank Lampard – who after coming on to replace Cleverley as one of Hodgson’s half time substitutes, superbly curled the winner in off Cesar’s left post on the hour mark when he managed to perfectly chip the ball from in his feet after Wayne Rooney had pounced on a Brazilian defensive mistake and deftly laid the ball off to him. As a result of last night’s performance there are already many rumors circulating in the blogosphere today of Roman Abramovich being ready to offer Lampard a year’s contract extension which you could believe are true when Roy Keane, working as a pundit for ITV on the broadcast of last night’s game, said that there will be many teams lining up to sign Lampard when he still has top class skills in his locker. Even before last night’s game I felt Abramovich would be making a huge error if he allowed Lampard to leave but last night’s second half cameo for England can only have confirmed the sentiments being shared that Lampard is still at the top of his game now that he is back to full fitness.