As we roll towards the World Cup in just two weeks’ time, teams are getting in their final tuneups to prepare their squads for international play.
Today was a big day for World Cup teams to take to the field and get in some work. The United States takes on Turkey come Sunday, but here’s a roundup of the World Cup teams in action today:
England 3-0 Peru
Daniel Sturridge scored a stunner out of nothing and England held off Peru at Wembley. Having scored just one goal in their last three international matches at Wembley, the young Liverpool striker offered England some form of hope as they get set for a blisteringly difficult group that features Uruguay, Italy, and Costa Rica.
The game shut down after Sturridge’s goal, with paper airplanes and the wave exciting the crowd more than what was actually happening on the pitch. Gary Cahill picked up England’s second as he headed in a corner, and that was all she wrote for Peru, as Phil Jagielka also grabbed a third. However, the match didn’t exactly excited the masses in England.
One question mark for England is Wayne Rooney, who was relatively ineffective and overshadowed by Sturridge. Despite Rooney’s perceived untouchable status, it may behoove Roy Hodgson to question that going forward. Rooney has long had a reputation for underperforming for his country.
Spain 2-0 Bolivia
Fernando Torres started for Spain for the first time in over a year, and scored a penalty but missed another wide open chance a few minutes later (oh Fernando). Iniesta scored a beauty with the inside of his foot to complete the scoreline, but the match was mostly for the fringe players who are looking to impress Vicente Del Bosque.
Reports out of Spain have Juan Mata on the outside looking in, and the Manchester United star played the first 45 hoping to change those thoughts. Gerard Deulofeu got 10 minutes of time, and David Silva got around a half-hour as well. Spain held possession for 76% of the time, yata yata, nothing else to see here, carry on.
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 Ivory Coast
Two World Cup sides squaring off so close to the event is uncommon, but this pair of Brazil-bound squads met up in St. Louis for a warm-up. Didier Drogba didn’t start but made the bench after recovering from minor groin surgery.
Both Toure brothers missed out, Kolo because of a case of malaria and Yaya thanks to minor surgery as well on an unspecified knock. Other names on the Elephants’ bench include Gervinho, Seydou Doumbia, Salomon Kalou, and Wilfried Bony. None got into the match.
Star striker Edin Dzeko started for Bosnia and opened the scoring inside 20 minutes. That wasn’t all from the Manchester City man, who doubled his total after halftime and secured his in-form status headed into the competition.
Drogba made it into the game and scored late, a fantastic sign for Ivory Coast going into their advance-able Group C alongside Colombia, Greece, and Japan.
Uruguay 1-0 Northern Ireland
With Luis Suarez still recovering from his meniscus operation, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan were the biggest names in Uruguay’s attack tonight, but it wasn’t until Forlan’s replacement Christian Stuani broke the scoreless deadlock in the 62nd minute that the South Americans asserted their supremacy.
Northern Ireland managed 43% possession, but couldn’t get a single shot off until the 85th minute, while Uruguay peppered Roy Carroll with 17 shots, five on target. Other starters for Uruguay included Premier League duo Diego Lugano and Gaston Ramirez.
Switzerland 1-0 Jamaica
Bayer Leverkusen striker Josip Drmic fired Switzerland through with just six minutes left as the Rossocrociati staved off pre-Cup disappointment.
Drmic, at just 21 years old, Drmic was used mainly as a garbage-time sub throughout qualification, but with the World Cup approaching, he’s piggy-backed onto a 17-goal season in the Bundesliga with goals in each of the two friendlies the Swiss have played this calendar year. Look for his name in Brazil as his country looks to maintain its #1 seeding in Group E.
Chile 3-2 Egypt
With the Chileans preparing for a World Cup the Egyptians just barely missed out on, but the Brazil-bound South Americans fell down 2-0 early to Bob Bradley’s old side thanks to Mohamed Salah and Khaled Kamar netting inside 16 minutes.
Marcelo Diaz pulled Chile one-back, but things bogged down after that and La Roja – who weremissing star midfielder Arturo Vidal – had to wait until 15 minutes after halftime for Eduardo Vargas’s equalizer. Finally, Vargas won it for Chile with a 78th minute strike, but nonetheless the start will worry Jorge Sampaoli.
Iran 1-1 Angola
Those picking Iran to struggle mightily at the big dance had their fears worsen today as they needed a second-half goal from Karim Ansarifard to salvage a 1-1 draw with 94th-ranked Angola.
Since beating Kuwait by a goal in March, Iran has gone winless in four matches, and things aren’t looking good for them in a strong group with Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina.