The Soccer Special panel reflect on wins for England, Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Wales...
Last Updated: 07/02/13 9:35am
Matt Le Tissier on England's 2-1 win over Brazil
"England, particularly in the first half, were excellent. Even though they didn't create too many chances in the second half, they looked pretty solid. They had a shaky spell just after half-time when Brazil scored after Gary Cahill gave the ball away cheaply and then did it again straight afterwards and they hit the crossbar, but, apart from that, I thought they were comfortable and when they had to defend that 2-1 lead at the end they did it really well. Brazil, in the last 15-20 minutes, when you thought they'd be pressing for an equaliser, didn't really create any clear-cut chances at all.
"Jack Wilshere was man of the match for me and was the sponsors' man of the match as well. I thought he was excellent. Theo Walcott wouldn't have been too far behind him and Wayne Rooney was impressive, too. Danny Welbeck was probably the least impressive of all the forward players and the wide left role didn't seem to suit him, which was probably the only downside. Steven Gerrard was excellent again, Tom Cleverley was good in the first-half and Joe Hart was solid. There was a lot of good performances, but I think Wilshere is going to be world class. He's just come back to international football after a long time out, but as we go through the qualifiers if he keeps himself fit and plays in all the games then I think he'll be a star come the world cup.
"In the first-half they almost played with a 4-1-4-1 formation with Gerrard sitting in front of the back four with four in front of him and Rooney up front on his own. That seemed to work really well and they broke pretty well from that formation. Roy Hodgson has learned that, at home, against a decent side, he can play that formation comfortably."
Alan McInally on Scotland's 1-0 win over Estonia
"In the first half, Gordon Strachan would have been delighted with them. Shaun Maloney was heavily involved, Chris Burke, having not played for Scotland for goodness knows how long, came in and played really well, too. And the two in the middle, Charlie Adam and Scott Brown, did quite well.
"The goal was fantastically well worked; it was straight off the training pitch. Charlie Mulgrew was free at the back post with nobody picking him up, Adam squared the ball to him and the finish with his left peg was a beauty.
"First and foremost they've won and Scotland haven't been doing that enough recently. Scotland need to be winning games and, regardless of the opposition, they've done that, they've kept a clean sheet and, on a better pitch, on another night, we'd have scored more goals.
"Gordon will say he's changed the team - he's made six subs - and tried to give everyone an opportunity to come on and show they should be playing. I imagine this isn't far off the starting line up to face Wales, it is just the scoreline which is probably leaving people a little flat."
Ian Rush on Wales' 2-1 defeat of Austria
"The most important thing is getting a win. It was disappointing not to keep a clean sheet - that would have been great. The centre backs Ashley Williams and Sam Ricketts need to learn to keep clean sheets because if we can do that we can win games consistently.
"But once again we're relying on Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy. If you take them out of the side will we beat Scotland? With them in the side I think we will. If Bale and Bellamy had played 90 minutes Wales would have won 4-0.
"Wales looked very comfortable at 2-0, but when those two went off it gave the opposition a bit of belief, they got a sniff, got a goal in the last 15 minutes and it was nervy. But they managed to hold on and hopefully that win will give them the confidence when they got to Scotland."
Pat Bonner on Ireland's 2-0 win over Poland
"I should be sitting here after a 2-0 win with a smile on my face but when I analyse the way we played the game, especially in the first half, I can't say it was good.
"International friendlies are chances to look at players and he played Conor Sammon and David Forde for the whole game. Sammon worked really hard, as did all of the team. They all stuck to their task and the tactics laid down. Wes Hoolahan was the bright spark when he came on and scored a beautiful goal. The argument raging in Dublin tomorrow will be how do you fit Hoolahan into the team and can Giovanni Trappatoni change the system of playing a rigid 4-4-2 - which isn't very appealing to the eye - and allow the players to express themselves a little more.
"Of course Sweden and then Austria are two crucial games and I expect he'll revert back to tried and tested players such as Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane. But the problem in Ireland at the moment is filling this wonderful stadium they have. There's an onus on Trappatoni to play a game that's pleasing on the eye but that's not happening. I guess he'll argue qualification, any which way, is what's key."