England came from behind to clinch a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over Egypt at Wembley thanks to two goals from super-sub Peter Crouch.
Capello's men come good after disappointing first halfEngland came from behind to clinch a morale-boosting 3-1 victory over Egypt at Wembley. The African Cup of Nations winners gave Fabio Capello's men a stern test in the first half and deservedly led at half-time through Mohamed Zidan's 23rd-minute strike. But England finally found their fleuncy after the break and half-time substitute Peter Crouch levelled in the 56th minute. Fellow sub Shaun Wright-Phillips put England in front in the 75th minute and Crouch sealed victory with his second goal five minutes later. That was the Tottenham striker's 20th goal on his 37th international appearance and surely cements his place as England's second-choice striker behind Wayne Rooney ahead of this summer's World Cup.
Terry sagaIn the Three Lions' final game before Capello names his provisional squad for South Africa, much of the attention was on whether John Terry would be booed after being stripped of the captaincy as a result of the saga that forced left-back Wayne Bridge to rule himself out of international duty. There were plenty of boos as the Chelsea defender's name was read out before kick-off and he was booed again early on, but by the end a bumper Wembley crowd was solidly behind the deposed skipper. Bridge's withdrawal and the ankle injury to Ashley Cole has opened the door for Everton's Leighton Baines and Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock, and it was Baines who was handed his England debut and a chance to stake his claim for the left-back spot. Theo Walcott was also handed a chance to impress on the right of midfield and created the game's first chance for Frank Lampard but the Chelsea midfielder sidefooted straight at the Egypt keeper Essam El Hadary. Terry's slip allowed Wael Gomaa to turn a volley goalwards but Jermain Defoe, who got the nod alongside Rooney up front, was on the line to volley clear. And Matthew Upson then lost his footing, allowing Zidan to take down Hosny Abd-Rabou's diagonal ball and produce a crisp finish beyond England keeper Robert Green from just inside the box. Although Egypt narrowly missed out on World Cup qualification, they won their third successive African Nations Cup last month and continued to provide a disjointed England side the perfect test ahead of their group game with Algeria in Cape Town. Lampard had another opportunity when he hit a volley into the ground and over the crossbar, and he and Defoe were replaced after disappointing first-half performances.
ImpressedMichael Carrick and Crouch came into the fray and both impressed, so too Wright-Phillips after his introduction brought Walcott's frustrating evening to an end immediately after Crouch's equaliser. Crouch has the knack of being in the right place at the right time for England and that was in evidence again as captain Steven Gerrard released Gareth Barry down the right channel and the Manchester City midfielder squared for Crouch to turn the ball in from close range. Rooney was leading from the front and sent an overhead kick just over, although he was deemed to have committed a foul in the process. The in-form Manchester United star then dragged a shot wide from Barry's perfectly-weighted through ball. Rooney took the armband off Gerrard as he was replaced by James Milner and the Aston Villa man was straight into the action. He played it wide for Baines then volleyed goalwards from the cross, and although El Hadary kept Milner's shot out, the Egypt keeper was wrong-footed as Wright-Phillips hit the rebound back towards goal and into the net from the edge of the box. Wright-Phillips turned provider on the Three Lions' next attack, combining with right-back Wes Brown before squaring for Crouch to convert from what seemed to be an offside position. The Wembley crowd was then in fine voice as England played out their 500th international victory and their final home game before the World Cup. The Three Lions' next warm-up game is against Mexico in May, after Capello has named his provisional squad.
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|9||Shots on Target||4|
|7||Shots off Target||2|