Gerrard double rescues England

LONDON - England bounced back from the nadir of their dismal World Cup campaign with a 2-1 victory over Hungary in a friendly on Wednesday which suggested the future might not be as bleak as it seemed for Fabio Capello's men.

Two superb goals from skipper Steven Gerrard in three minutes in the second half turned the game England's way after Hungary scored a controversial goal which did not appear to have crossed the line.

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Gerrard celebrated his first goal from a stunning 30-metre drive with the kind of joy that usually accompanies a cup final winner, such was the release of tension it brought - not just for what happened on the night, but all of the frustration pent up since the World Cup.

His second goal came after he danced his way round the Hungarian defenders before firing home with his right foot.

England had an indifferent first half which began with the team being booed by the home fans following their World Cup exit in the last 16 against Germany.

However, the impressively large crowd of over 72,000 were solidly behind them as they finished with flair, pace and power only to be denied a more convincing win by the acrobatics of Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly.


Although no-one will get carried away by a victory over a team ranked 62nd in the world by FIFA, the fact Capello blooded four new caps in the second half: Michael Dawson, Kieran Gibbs, Bobby Zamora and Jack Wilshere gave a refreshing feel to the evening which ended on a high, boosting the players confidence before they start their Euro 2012 qualifiers next month.

Capello, who for once did not strut around his technical area all match but sat observing in his dugout, said: "I enjoyed that. They (Hungary) were really compact so it was difficult. It was important to play here at Wembley. We found new players, young players.

"The fans were really good. Thank you. I was surprised. We had to win for these fans. They were fantastic."

However, for the second England game running, there was a controversial goal which will fuel the debate on goalline technology following Hungary taking the lead in the 62nd minute.

A shot from Zoltan Gera deflected off Phil Jagielka and appeared to have been cleared off the line by Dawson before French linesman Fredji Harchay signalled a goal.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart said: "It was not a goal as far as I was concerned, I heard a few groans when the replay was being shown."

England had a goal ruled out against Germany when the ball did cross the line, but ultimately Wednesday's strike did not matter unduly as they stormed back to win.

Hart added: "The result means the world. Steve's celebration says it all. We came here to do a job and we did it. The crowd's reception was very fair. We could have turned up to an empty stadium - some voiced their opinion which is fair enough."

Capello employed a new system in the first half with Wayne Rooney playing as a lone striker but reverted to a more orthodox approach in the second half which the players seemed more at ease with.