England were given a big wake-up call at Wembley as Chile totally outclassed Roy Hodgson’s men, who were booed off the pitch after flopping to their first defeat of 2013.
Alexis Sanchez maintained the visitors’ excellent record against England, beating Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster only six minutes into his England debut, and the Barcelona striker repeated the heroics of Chile icon Marcelo Salas by sealing a 2-0 win at the end.
Indeed, had they taken their chances, this could have been a real goal glut for the Chileans, who passed the ball with finesse.
England made their task easy. The simple things seemed to evade the home side throughout the night. Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas and Jean Beausejour – a man who struggles to get into the Wigan team – found it easy to stretch and pierce the England back four.
Phil Jones and Gary Cahill looked unsteady at centre-back, while Leighton Baines’ defensive shortcomings were highlighted when he was beaten to the ball by Sanchez for Chile’s opener.
Wayne Rooney worked tirelessly, but was starved of supply. Adam Lallana offered glimpses of skill on his debut, but no-one else – including debutant Jay Rodriguez – stood out on a morale-sapping night in front of nearly 63,000 fans at Wembley.
If England put on the same kind of performance when Germany’s Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Andre Schurrle come to town on Tuesday, then they will be bracing themselves for a real battering.
A sense of euphoria had surrounded the team after the wins over Poland and Montenegro, but it is clear from this game that much work still has to be done ahead of the World Cup.
Captain Frank Lampard looked emotional as he collected his golden cap before kick off, and for five minutes after the whistle, all went to plan.
Lallana, keen to impress, found space on the right and flung in a deep cross to the back post where Jones tested Claudio Bravo. James Milner then drilled a low cross in to the Chile box that was cleared off the line.
The Wembley crowd were on the edge of their seats, but they were stunned moments later.
Chile surged forward on the counter, and Cahill put his body on the line to block a shot from Vargas but the danger had not passed. Chile moved the ball out to Eugenio Mean on the left. Cahill missed the full-back’s cross and Sanchez sneaked in front of Baines to head beyond Forster.
England could not get Chile off the ball. Gary Medel in particular was having a superb game, passing the ball out of danger through his wing-backs whenever England applied pressure.
Chile had one over on the break on the half-hour, but Forster came out to usher Beausejour wide. England were all at sea just before the break, with Sanchez breaking through twice, although Lallana pierced the Chile defence only to be thwarted with a last-ditch tackle.
The biggest cheer of the night came when Andros Townsend replaced Rodriguez on the hour. The Tottenham winger had an immediate impact, finding Jack Wilshere, who was fouled on the edge of the box by Medel.
Chile were running the show and had their fans chanting “Ole!”. Then Sanchez hammered the final nail into England’s coffin in injury time when he lifted the ball over Forster after a mix-up at the back.
Scorers: Chile - Sanchez (7, 90)
England: Forster, Johnson, Jones (Smalling 57), Cahill, Baines, Milner (Defoe 65), Wilshere (Cleverley 71), Lampard (Henderson 71), Lallana (Barkley 77), Rooney, Rodriguez (Townsend 57). Subs not used: Ruddy, Cole, Gibbs, Jagielka, Hart.
Chile: Bravo, Mena, Gonzalez, Isla (Jara 59), Fernandez (Carmona 46), Beausejour (Fuenzalida 82), Medel, Aranguiz (Gutierrez 46), Diaz, Sanchez, Vargas (Munoz 71). Subs not used: Toselli, Silva, Valdivia, Rojas, Fernandes, Herrera.
Referee: F Meyer (Ger)