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Page last updated at 18:00 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 19:00 UK

England v Mexico as it happened

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times BST)

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By Mark Ashenden


2236: Time up. Magical efforts from everybody - thank you. Playing badly and still winning. How many times have you heard that? The Capello bandwagon rolls on and it's heading for South Africa. Night.

2232: So thoughts get closer to South Africa, England taking on the USA on 12 June. Tremendous efforts with the baby names by the way (see comment at 1944). Keep across my twitter if you give a monkeys about what the baby ends up being called - Frank, Pickles, Wayne or even Wenlock or Mandeville? Not sure how I'll break that news to the missus. I'm sure she'll understand at 1am when I get home later.

From stillbrighter on 606: "What lessons have we learnt? That England never perform well in friendlies, but can still beat very tricky sides whilst playing poorly with an experimental side missing at least three world class regulars. And people are pessimistic about that?"

From LivinLaLiga on Twitter: "Whatever players are on that plane, they would get destroyed by Spain, Brazil or any team that can keep hold of the ball"

BBC Radio 5 live
2225: Rob Green on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I thoroughly enjoyed today - it was a good evening tempered by the goal we let in before the interval. My anger was lessened by it being Franco."

From benjohntrasler on Twitter: "Any chance we can leave behind Glen Johnson the defender; but take Glen Johnson the attacking wing-back? Different players"

BBC Radio 5 live
Fabio Capello on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I changed the positions of Gerrard at half time and we pressed more - we moved the ball quicker in the second half. I'm happy for the performance of Rob Green and also Joe Hart played with confidence. Ledley King is important."

2218: What lessons have we learned then? Fabio's half-time talks make a difference. Ledley King implied loud Italian voices were heard at the interval. How many times have people said: "England gave the ball away too cheaply". It happened tonight on too many occasions. A lot more questions than answers. Not much clearer over the keeper either although Rob Green did well.

From RCS1984 on Twitter: "OK a win's a win BUT Mexico had far too many chances. In the last 25 mins England looked disorganized and somewhat hurried"

From AlphaDraconis99 on 606: "england looked a better team with gerrard in the CENTRE..however, i'd still consider the option of playing him just behind rooney"

From The Kop Prophet on 606: "We can take something from that game - that the following players will be cut from the squad - Warnock, Dawson, Upson, SWP, Parker, Bent."
What do you lovely people reckon? Any clues from tonight as to who will NOT be on the plane to South Africa?

From Mystiroakey on 606: "walcot was for me the best player on the pitch first half- lennon did exactly what we know he can do- both are going. both are very similar.. i dont see the problem- the only problem is who to start, but we have japan and i know capello will sort it out then."

2203: Steven Gerrard: "The manager wanted more aggression in the second half. We stood off them and then we got in their faces." Ledley King: "It wasn't my best game - they're a good side. The manager made his feelings known at half time and we got closer to them. The knee's OK."

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writer at Wembley: "England much better in the second half and they embark on a fairly low-key lap of honour as Wembley bids farewell to Fabio Capello's squad as they prepare for South Africa. Unconvincing in parts and plenty of work to do - but a win all the same against a lively Mexico."

2158: Next up is Japan on 30 May. Plenty to think about for Fabio. A win's a win though. That was the last time England play on home turf before heading out to Austria tomorrow and then South Africa calls on 2 June. Overall thoughts on a postcard, tweeting, 606 and texting please.

2155: FULL TIME England 3-1 Mexico.

2154: Three minutes injury time. We want the whistle now don't we?

2151: A strange game eh? Three goals, one conceded. Fabio would have settled for that but possession has been very patchy at best, a few creaking holes in the defence and a little light up front. Hold on.....Aaron Lennon goes from second gear to seventh in 4 seconds - Jeremy Clarkson would love this Lennon motor - Rodriguez doesn't like him though and sticks his leg out. Lennon's over and rolling and rolling...stunning run though.

2148: That was almost a sensational start for Johnson. He's been on the pitch for 68 seconds and he's through in the box, has his shirt pulled, but he stays on his feet commendably but his cross is cleared. A bright spark in a relatively dull half an hour.

2146: After all those compliments, Milner is taken off. Well done me. And it's Adam Johnson on for his England debut. Not a lot of bulk to this boy but a bag of tricks I'm told.

2144: Milner is putting his weight around. Battling well in midfield. Defoe pulls out of a long ball but the ball ends up with Rooney outside the box - the chip is on....Wayne - the chip is on.....it's still on....he chips it and the defender is on the line to nod clear. A rare England attack. This game has officially turned scrappy.

2143: Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will be enjoying this one. Tottenham's Aaron Lennon on for Walcott.

2140: Sub Guardado has a free-kick from just outside the box. Another with a perm - tighter curls this one - but his shot does not match his follicle efforts. 53 feet over the bar (yep - I measured it). What a waste.

2138: Strictly come Mexican dancing - Barrera's feet performing tricks on the right wing and he weaves his way through Baines a little too easily and England get lucky with a sweet low cross through the box. England hang on.

2136: The game's got a little quiet. And there'll probably be two goals in three minutes following that comment.....you watch......

2134: International football at the age of 37. Quality. Blanco strolls on and he doesn't look a day older than 35. Respect.

2132: Who fancies Portugal in the World Cup? They've had a shocker in a friendly against the team ranked 117th in the world. A home game against Cape Verde - score? 0-0.

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writer at Wembley: "England looking more settled after the break with James Milner pushed out to the left to help Leighton Baines, who had a very uncomfortable first half. Big chance for Tom Huddlestone to make an impact in the last 25 minutes because Michael Carrick hardly covered himself in glory during his time on the pitch."

2129: Milner passes a short one to Gerrard who gets the six-iron out and threads a 'scuffer' past the right upright with a low one. Unlucky.

2128: A smooth move by England. Great inside pass by Rooney into the path of Gerrard and he tumbles from a challenge by Barrera just before he shoots. A yellow card for the Mexican - looked like a good old fashioned shoulder challenge to me.... free-kick on the edge of the box. Where's Becks when you need him?

2126: Something is happening inside Wembley that used to have former BBC man Barry Davies a very unhappy commentator. No streakers I'm afraid - it's the Mexican wave. How does that wave differ from say a South African one?

2123: Carrick (he's had better nights) comes off for Tom Huddlestone. While Vela is off for Guardado.

2121: Giovani Dos Santos not only wins the hair of the night award (yep - hairband and a tight perm) but he's having a good game. Causing all sorts of problems in the English defence and he curls in a dangerous one that evades everybody and just the woodwork.

2117: Good touch by Hart as his hands get hold of a smart shot by Barerra. Green had a great 45 minutes? Time for the Hart show. If only England had another keeper called Hart. Hart to Hart yeh? Back to the action

2116: Gerrard smacks the ball and it loops just over the bar. The new skipper's looking a bit more lively than the first half. Franco's got ice wrapped around his swollen foot by the way.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
England goal: It's a bloomin' wondergoal. I don't say that word too lightly. Half of Wembley are still strolling back to their seats and they miss Johnson picking the ball up just inside his half, he cruises through the Mexican midfield and what does he do? He only goes and bends the ball into the top corner. Sensational strike. I have to ask. Was that 20-minute queue for a Wembley burger worth it?

2110: GOALFLASH England 3-1 Mexico (Johnson)

Whistle
2109: The game gets going again.

2108: Three changes for England. Joe Hart gets his chance in goal and comes on for Green, Gerrard picks up the skipper's armband with Carragher on for Ferdinand, and Defoe on for Crouch. Man Utd's new signing Javier Hernandez on for Franco.

From Applemask on 606: "I never realised that England 2 Mexico 1 was code for England 0 Mexico 15x10 to the power of 87. Seriously, grow up."
A rational head perhaps in the swirl of pessimism. A lot of hype before a World Cup isn't there?

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty tweeting from Wembley: "Mexico deservedly pull one back through Franco right on ht. How England's defence survived that long without conceding is a mystery"

From coolinter on 606: "Good to see Franco getting 1 back for Mexico with a very deserving goal. Mexico deserve better. This match is a walk in the park for England so far."

From EshanKokiloo on Twitter: "Now we all know why Capello was desperate to recall Carra! Rio and Ledley are way out of the top league of defenders!"

Half time
Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Mexico goal: Strange goal. Marquez heads it towards the goal - it's headed off the line by Baines who was keeping the Mexicans onside and Franco pounces to stab the ball home. You can't say that wasn't deserved. Can you? Fabio wasn't even happy at 2-0 - teacups at half-time? 2-1 at the break. Mexico thoroughly deserve that late strike.

2052: GOALFLASH England 2-1 Mexico (Franco)

2049: Two minutes of added time. Carrick does well to hook a ball clear from the box. A quiet game from Carrick so far - not the only one though.

From Mystiroakey on 606: "Our defenders have had a much harder job but thrown bodies into the mexican chances. In terms of possession and playing nice footie they have torn us apart."

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writer at Wembley: "To say England's advantage is flattering is an understatement, as proved by Fabio Capello's grim expression on the sidelines. He does not look happy despite the lead and he is right. England desperately unconvincing at the back and inferior to Mexico in possession. Robert Green has saved well twice from Carlos Vela and the Wembley woodwork that kept Chelsea at bay for so long in the FA Cup Final has had another good rattling from Carlos Salcido."


2042: After all the madness, Vela strolls up the pitch immediately after the England goal and once again, Green's mighty palms get in the way - another fine save. Sub keeper Joe Hart will be getting a little anxious on the bench.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
England goal: Gerrard crosses for Rooney whose header is saved brilliantly by Perez - he pushes it on to the bar and it loops up and who do you want leaping for a ball coming out of the clouds? It's Crouchie of course. A possibility of a handball - replays show half arm, half chest. Look at the scoreboard folks. It's 2-0.

2038: GOALFLASH England 2-0 Mexico (Crouch)

2037: FACT for you for free. England are unbeaten in their last seven World Cup warm-up matches.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2032: One minute after Rob Green dithers with a looping cross, he pulls out a save from the toppest of top drawers. Vela bursts through with Rio Ferdinand easily turned and he's got a one-on-one. Just Green to beat and his large hands push the ball away. Cracking. Just a minute later, Salcido picks up the ball and bends it on to the woodwork. Big let-off. 1-0 up but Fabio will be fuming.

2030: 30 minutes of Walcott has probably booked him his ticket to SA. He's looking lively and threads a ball through for Rooney after a sweet run on the right. Offside flag comes up. Promising.

2028: Rooney goes on a rampaging run down the left but is thwarted by a fabulous tackle by Rodriguez just inside the box. Game still quite open.

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writer at Wembley: "Ledley King's imperious defensive work has ensured England coach Fabio Capello is prepared to persist with him despite his injury problems - and he proves again he is good for a goal or two. England had not made the best of starts, with the central midfield duo of James Milner and Michael Carrick in particular yet to exert influence, but that goal should settle things down."

2025: Our friends at Infostrada tell us that was Ledley King's first goal for over six years since his goal against Portugal in a friendly.

2023: Set-pieces. Fabio - it's all about set-pieces. Forget this open play nonsense. Or just pay me a whopping salary to type "England can't get hold of the ball" in three weeks and I'll get you a goal one minute later in South Africa. Guaranteed.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
England goal: After a stinky start, England get a rather undeserved goal. Gerrard bends in a corner, the ball's headed back across by Crouch and King nods into the top right corner.

2020: GOALFLASH England 1-0 Mexico (King)

2018: Memories of Terry Butcher and Paul Ince - basically anybody wearing a head bandage. Gerrard comes back on with head wrapped up. Walcott looking the best bet out wide on the right at the moment. England can not get hold of this ball.

2016: OOOOoooffff. Crouch and Gerrard leap for a ball and an elbow comes flying into Gerrard's head. Blood alert. He doesn't look too bad but it's the sort of clash that would encourage your mum to run on with the rolling pin.

From RCS1984 on Twitter: "Mexico are not a bad team so let's not get overenthusiastic with this experimental line-up. Rooney needs to shine tonight."

2013: England defence all over the shop - Aguilar plays a dangerous ball across the six-yard line and luckily, for the hosts, no one is on the end of it.

2011: Torrado pulling the strings. Mexico are playing like they've got 14 players on the pitch. Mmmm Michael Carrick plays a shocker from defence and Fabio is waving his arms about like an Italian windmill (mmm?) Not good from the Man Utd midfielder though.

2009: Ledley King looking a little sluggish. West Ham's Franco turns on the penalty spot and King is grasping at the Mexican shirt but it comes to nothing. Lucky boy.

2006: Lively opening three minutes. Walcott bursts down the right and his cross limps along the ground and is cleared safely. Crouch was pulling back the trigger there. This is the greatest start to a game ever. Nonsense. Lively though.

2004: Bobble count is twice in the first one minute. Mexico look sharp and bright in the tackle - Juarez takes a pop from outside the box. Straight into the crowd but good start from the visitors.

2002: KICK-OFF. Pitch looks like a subbuteo pitch from the blimp balloon. Here we go.

1958: Mexico all in black. And plenty of wrestling masks in the crowd. Brings back great memories - Nacho Libre - Jack Black at his very very best. Becks singing his heart out. Fabio's lips aren't moving.

1954: Thanks for all your suggestions with names. Please keep them coming. I'm only 62% decided on my names. Back to the footi. Shall we? I think so. Players in the tunnel. And they're strolling out. Rio leads the boys and it looks like everybody in the crowd are wearing white shirts. Impressive on the eye. Four minutes away from kick-off. Are you ready? I'm going for a 2-0.

1946:TEAM LINE-UPS
England: Green, Glen Johnson, Ferdinand, King, Baines, Walcott, Gerrard, Carrick, Milner, Crouch, Rooney.
Subs: Hart, James, Carragher, Dawson, Upson, Warnock, Lennon, Parker, Huddlestone, Wright-Phillips, Adam Johnson, Heskey, Defoe
Mexico: Perez, Juarez, Aguilar, Marquez, Salcido, Osorio, Torrado, Rodriguez, Giovani, Franco, Vela.
Subs: Ochoa, Michel, Barrera, Castro, Blanco, Hernandez, Moreno, Guardado, Magallon, Torres, Bautista, Medina, Jonathan.

1944: As a side issue, I'm expecting my first child on the first day of the World Cup. In between the debate over 4-4-1 or 4-5-1, if anybody's got suggestions for names (boy or girl) or methods to watch the footi in a manic maternity ward then I'd welcome your thoughts.

1942: And for anybody thinking why the heck has Fabio forgotten those Chelsea boys, they're being rested, along with the Pompey boys, after FA Cup final duty. John Terry, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole looking relaxed on the pitch, although probably sweating like race horses in some rather dapper suits.

From Adnan88 on Twitter: "I think it is a strange line up , I would have liked to see Gerrard playing behind Rooney and maybe give scott Parker a try."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty tweeting from Wembley: "Early appearances may be deceptive, but the Wembley pitch does not look as awful as it did for the FA Cup Final. We shall see"

It's raining
It's sunny
1935: On a day when I dug out my hosepipe and watered my scruffy small lawn, we've heard that the Wembley turf has not been watered to reduce the risk of players slipping up. (Anybody got a hosepipe graphic? - I'll settle for two of these)

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport's chief football writer at Wembley: "Shame Fabio Capello has not tried Wayne Rooney as the lone striker with Steven Gerrard tucked in behind - currently England's best attacking bet in my opinion and there may still be time to experiment with that formation against Japan. Plenty in the line-up with something to prove, and given the decline in Michael Carrick's form in the last 12 months this represents as much of an opportunity to play his way out of the final squad as into it."

From PrinceFerocity on Twitter: "Hrm, I'd pick Hart over Green due to the seasons, but, it's very nice to see King back in England colours."

1931: It's not me being slow. We just haven't had any official confirmation on the Mexican team or the England bench yet. That's that.

From Isle of Manc on 606: "Bit disappointed about the lineup to be honest. There is no need to risk Rooney, and if he picks up a serious injury, I will go mental. Why aren't we playing the players who might not go to the World Cup, so they can prove themselves. I think 4-2-3-1 was the way to go tonight."

1925: Just in case you're wondering about the boy Darren Bent, the Sunderland Echo are reporting he's tweaked his hamstring. That's a gutter for the striker if true.

From almal100 on Twitter: "it'll be interesting to see who plays on the left out of gerrard & milner."

From franciscope on Twitter: "From mexico. For the mx team its the first game when they will have full squad so lots of expectation on this game."

1918: Bit of a surprise seeing Glen Johnson get the nod over Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher. A second cap for Leighton Baines at left-back, Carrick and Milner in central midfield alongside Walcott and Gerrard. Crouch looking for his 21st goal in 38 games. Fair play to the big man.

1914: It's eight days before Fabio Capello reveals the 23 he'll take to South Africa. Ohhh to be a mouse running around inside his head right now. Barry's fitness. Rooney's ankles. WAGs. Ledley King's creaking knees. Goalkeepers. Carragher or Johnson? 4-3-3, 4-4-2, 5-5-0 or 4-3-2-1? What do you think Fabio's thinking right now? What are YOU thinking right now?

From NFFC_4_LYF on 606: "Quite a strong and attacking line-up but id would have started Dawson instead of King. Although I think that King is a brilliant player, for me he hasn't warranted an England place. I personally think he is there on merit!"

1910: Ledley King will be beaming on this balmy night in north London. The Spurs defender starts for England and it's his first appearance for England since 2007.

BBC Radio 5 live
1907: Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I thought we might have seen more questionable players as to who might go. Question mark over Ledley King for his injury. The team has surprised me. It looks like a 4-4-2."

1905: By the way, apologies if you were all expecting Jonathan Stevenson or the mighty Cheese doing your live text commentary tonight. Mr Stevenson is testing IT six feet away from me ahead of his South African trip, while Ms Cheese is on French Open duty. See me as your James Milner while Gareth Barry rests his pins.

1904: ENGLAND TEAM: Green, Johnson, Baines, Ferdinand, King, Walcott, Gerrard, Carrick, Milner, Crouch, Rooney

1901: Hands up who's buzzing? The World Cup is just 25,630 minutes away. Do you know how much Rio Ferdinand is buzzing? His words: "I spoke to my missus and my little boys demanded to have England flags on the car and stuff like that." Any bunting banter? England have two friendlies to deal with first though. Next week is Japan, first up MEXICO in an hour. Meaningless? Try telling that to Darren Bent, Scott Parker and Adam Johnson.




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see also
World Cup warm-up matches
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Wembley surface worries Ferdinand
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Barry faces race to prove fitness
26 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Bent out to prove World Cup worth
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
England 3-1 Mexico
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Gerrard urges England to deliver
22 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello names surprise Cup squad
11 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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