Frank Lampard: England can beat anyone in the world
England’s 2-1 win over Brazil proves they are capable of beating anyone in the world, a bullish Frank Lampard has claimed.
Lampard struck one of the best goals in his 14-year England career on Wednesday night to help the Three Lions secure their first victory over Brazil in almost a quarter of a century.
Although Brazil’s current crop are nowhere near as good as the Samba stars who overcame England in 1970 and again in 2002, the way in which Roy Hodgson’s men neutralised the attacking threat of Neymar and co at Wembley deservedly won high praise.
England have now beaten Brazil and Spain, who have won six World Cups between them, over the past 15 months.
Lampard acknowledges that statistic is undermined slightly by the fact that both came in friendly matches, but he insists morale is now so high that England are confident of beating anyone who crosses their path.
“We have got the confidence to beat any team in world football on our day,” the Chelsea midfielder said. “We have done it against Spain and now Brazil. I think we can be happy with ourselves.
“We are certainly heading in the right direction. I am not sure we would have had the capability two years ago to follow through and actually win that game. We can improve as well. We might not have dominated the game, but we have beaten Brazil and you can’t look badly on that. It’s a long time since England have done it.”
Lampard picked up Wayne Rooney’s pass in the second half and curled an excellent finish past Julio Cesar via the inside of a post to seal the win. There were doubts over whether Lampard would play for his country again following his withdrawal from Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad through injury.
But having scored 14 goals in 32 appearances prior to Wednesday’s game, Hodgson could not ignore the 34-year-old despite the emerging midfield talents of Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley.
The Chelsea midfielder, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is now just six caps short of becoming England’s eighth centurion, and he has no plans to quit the international scene any time soon.
“I won’t retire whatever happens,” said Lampard, who made his England debut in 1999 against Belgium.
“I am pleased that [Hodgson has faith in me]. You don’t know if everything is going to be the same after an injury. You know it won’t go on forever. Every time I am in or around the squad I give my all, whether it’s starting or on the bench.
“I have a lot of respect for the manager. I think he respects that I want to help in any way I possibly can and if I can keep going then brilliant.”
While Lampard was in bullish mood yesterday, Rooney urged caution, insisting that victory over San Marino and Montenegro in next month’s World Cup qualifiers is far more important.
“It’s a great feeling to beat Brazil, but the two games next month are more important,” the Manchester United striker said. “It’s a great result, but, at the end of the day, it’s only a friendly.”
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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