The Sport Matrix: Thursday 7 February 2013


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lampard stunner gives England rare victory over Brazil

Frank Lampard came off the bench to score the winner as England beat Brazil for the first time in 23 years, with a 2-1 victory at Wembley.

In a lively opening, Ronaldinho saw his penalty saved, with the rebound forcing Joe Hart into another superb stop on the goal line.

England took the lead after the influential Jack Wilshere played in Theo Walcott, with his shot rebounding to Wayne Rooney, above, for a measured finish. But Brazil were level shortly after the break when substitute Fred took advantage of Gary Cahill's error to drill the ball past Hart.

Lampard curled in from the edge of the box after an hour to earn England the win, their first over Brazil since March 1990.

Wilshere was at the heart of what was a productive performance from Roy Hodgson's side, in the Arsenal midfielder's first international start since June 2011.

"He is a fantastic player," said Lampard of Wilshere. "He's got quality on the ball, technical ability and the speed to get away from people. He's going to be a massive player for England – and in the world." MORE

O'Driscoll relishes England meeting

Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll admitted "nothing that can prepare you" to face England in Dublin as he looks forward to Sunday's Six Nations contest at the Aviva Stadium. "I would imagine it will be a very physically demanding game," he said. "For me, it's always been a big game." MORE

Cavendish: I had to leave Team Sky

Former Team Sky rider Mark Cavendish insists he made the right decision in leaving for Omega Pharma-Quick-Step after last year's Tour de France. "It was always going to be a difficult decision, but once I took it, there was only one team I wanted to join," he said. MORE

Bale and Vokes seal Wales success

Gareth Bale inspired Wales to only their second win in seven games under manager Chris Coleman by beating Austria 2-1 last night at the Liberty Stadium. Bale opened the scoring before Sam Vokes headed in Wales' second. Marc Janko grabbed a consolation for Austria. MORE

Strachan begins reign with victory

Scotland won their first game under new manager Gordon Strachan with a 1-0 victory over Estonia at Pittodrie. Charlie Mulgrew's first Scotland goal was enough to give them some confidence before World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Serbia next month. MORE

England lose final warm-up game

A late fightback by captain Stuart Broad proved in vain as England suffered a last-ball defeat by a New Zealand XI in their final warm-up T20 game.

Despite a second successive half-century for Jos Buttler, England lost by three wickets. MORE

U21s should want to play, says Pearce

Stuart Pearce has warned England's young players that they risk damaging their careers if they prefer lying on a beach to participating in the European Under-21 Championship. England travel to Israel for the tournament in June. MORE

Republic of Ireland end their losing run

Ciaran Clark and Wes Hoolahan scored in either half to give the Republic of Ireland a 2-0 friendly win over Poland last night, ending a two-match home losing run. Ireland, third in their World Cup group, next play second-placed Sweden on 22 March.

Northern Ireland fail to break Malta

Michael O'Neill is still waiting for his first win as Northern Ireland manager after a goalless encounter in Malta made it four draws in a row. In a disappointing game, O'Neill's side rarely looked like winning their first away friendly since 2006.

Mercedes' worries continue in testing

Mercedes continued a disastrous start to pre-season yesterday when Lewis Hamilton crashed his car nose-first into a tyre wall after suffering brake problems on his first day of testing at Jerez circuit, Spain. MORE

James Lawton

Jack Wilshere looked as if he could play for anyone last night, and yes, that included the world's greatest football nation. There were times when he was the heart, spirit and brain of England. MORE