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World Cup 2010
England 3 – 1 Mexico
By Shane Clarke
London Correspondent
In a fitting farewell, England beat Mexico 3-1 at Wembley Stadium, delighting fans and ensuring a good send off as they head to the World Cup. They have just one friendly left – against Japan in Austria - before heading off to South Africa, taking the hopes and dreams of a nation with them.

Although they got the result everyone wanted, England’s performance can only be described as patchy at best. Some might argue that the score-line is flattering to England considering the amount of possession Mexico had in the first half, and the way they heaped pressure on the home side as wave after wave attacked England’s goal. Only some fine saves from Rob Green kept them at bay as he put in a first half performance that will have done his hopes of making the final World Cup squad no harm at all.

England opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a headed goal from a corner by Tottenham defender Ledley King. Steven Gerrard floated the ball in to Peter Crouch at the far post. Crouch headed it down and across the goal where King was waiting unmarked to glance a header past Mexico keeper Perez.

This should have calmed the England side down and focused them on their task. However, it just triggered more pressure from Mexico who tore through the home side’s disorganised defence, all of whom owe a debt of gratitude to West Ham’s keeper Rob Green who pulled off two fantastic saves.

Against the run of play, England doubled their lead in the 35th minute when Perez brilliantly tipped Wayne Rooney’s header from a Gerrard cross onto the bar and Peter Crouch used his height advantage to bundle in the rebound. The resulting 2-0 score-line was flattering considering England’s unconvincing performance.

Mexico were finally rewarded for their endeavours in first half stoppage time when they highlighted England’s frail defence by scoring a goal best described as embarrassing. Defending a corner, King lost Rafa Marquez, and when Leighton Baines unconvincingly cleared the ball off the line, Franco scrambled the ball into the net to halve England’s lead.

Any hopes of a Mexico comeback in the second half were dashed when man-of-the-match Glen Johnson made a mazy run before putting away a fantastic goal with his left foot. The Liverpool fullback will probably never score a better goal in his England career.

While England’s performance was unconvincing, and weaknesses were highlighted it may be a little early to panic. At the end of the day, they got the job done, and the whole point of a friendly like this is to identify weaknesses before the serious business of the World Cup starts. As important as the result was to make sure no one was injured, and thankfully the only injury of the evening was non pitch-related. Steven Gerrard sustained a minor head injury that required a couple of stitches when he went up for a header, but it only took him out of the game for a couple of minutes.

Barry to Learn His World Cup Fate Today

Manchester City and England midfielder Gareth Barry will undergo tests today to establish whether he is fit enough to travel with the England team to South Africa. The 29-year-old sustained an ankle ligament injury playing for Manchester City on 5th May.

England manager, Fabio Capello, who must name his 23-man-squad by 1st June, said, “After the doctors check then we will know the situation of the ankle.

“If Barry is fit, he will come with us. If not, he will stay at home. He is one of the players we want to be fit.”

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Shane Clarke serves as London Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He has been involved in humanitarian work for numerous years. He’s also a freelance management consultant. Having completed an honors degree in Law at Wolverhampton University, he then moved on to an MBA at Warwick Business School. He’s heavily involved in the fight against international parental child abduction to Japan.






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