Aerial superiority and a great bit of individual skill by Glen Johnson were the highlights of England’s 3-1 win over Mexico in a friendly. A World Cup curtain raiser which was also an opportunity for some players to state their case for selection in the final 23.
Fabio Capello might be relieved by Robert Green’s performance but the defense looked ragged with Guillermo Franco turning Ledley King inside out creating an opportunity to score. King did better on the attacking end nodding the ball past Perez in goal to open the scoring after Spurs team mate Peter Crouch had headed the ball across the goalmouth.
But El Tri took possession of the game thereafter. England survived two very good attempts. Robert Green denying Carlos Vela after a neat pass from Dos Santos found the Arsenal forward and then a few minutes later Salcido’s curling shot luckily struck the upright after beating the West Ham custodian. England went ahead against the run of play when another set piece let to Rooney’s header striking the crossbar and off the rebound Crouch elongating his body deflected the ball into goal in what appeared to be an offside position.
England’s defense then let them down, Leighton Baines making a meal out of a simple clearance and Franco pounced to pull one back for Mexico. The stage was set for Glen Johnson’s spectacular bit of individualistic skill. Rooney was somewhat subdued but showed no ill effects of the groin and ankle injury that saw him take time off in the last part of the season.
Mexico faded in the second half but there are still questions for Fabio Capello before he submits his final 23. He has the Japan game to come to a decision.
The England line up was missing the Chelsea faction of Terry, Cole, and Lampard but the presence of Milner and Carrick failed to get the midfield going. Theo Walcott did little of note. Ledley King played all 90 minutes but it was not an assured defensive performance. Jamie Carragher played his first international in three years but did not have much to do. Leighton Baines showed he is not quite ready.
It is becoming clear that England need to keep their first XI healthy because their bench strength particularly on central defense does not look up to the mark. In midfield, Michael Carrick might have just ended his chances. Scott Parker in central midfield looks like a better option.