Lampard leads rare English Samba
England 2 Brazil 1:Any victory over Brazil has to be cherished and Roy Hodgson is entitled to feel the good outweighed the bad, even if it was a close-run thing during those moments when their shortcomings in defence threatened to undermine all the positives that accompanied only their fourth victory in 24 against the most famous team of them all.
England's defence was generous enough at times and they were also indebted to Joe Hart for his penalty save from Ronaldinho, and an even better piece of goalkeeping to deny him again from the rebound.
Yet Hodgson is entitled to be satisfied after a night when Wayne Rooney scored his 33rd international goal and Frank Lampard, a half-time substitute, delivered a wonderful reminder of his enduring talents with a beautifully taken winner.
Hodgson will be troubled by the manner in which England's defence threatened to go to pieces, allowing the Brazil substitute Fred to score, but it was an encouraging night in other respects, too, not least in the form of Jack Wilshere.
Perhaps the most striking lesson is that in an attacking sense England look so much more fluid when Hodgson, almost exclusively a 4-4-2 man during his four decades in the management business, moves away from what he knows best.
The manager can also be encouraged by what he saw from Wilshere, namely the hard evidence that he is cut out for this level and fits snugly into a central midfield featuring Steven Gerrard in close proximity.
Wilshere was prominently involved from the start, always wanting the ball and knowing the right thing to do with it, and it was his incisive pass that sent his Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott running clear and led to the opening goal.
Walcott, operating on the right of attack, could not beat Julio Cesar but when the ball rebounded off the Brazil goalkeeper it fell invitingly to Rooney just inside the penalty area. Cesar was out of position, leaving the goal exposed, and Rooney is too assured a finisher these days to miss chances like that.
England's attacking players passed the ball well enough to expose any gaps. Rooney flashed another effort wide shortly after scoring and Cesar was not to know that the referee would award a free-kick against the Manchester United striker when he kept out an early header with a brilliant piece of goalkeeping.
Brazil, however, also may have suspected the opposition defence could be susceptible.
The penalty had been given against Wilshere for blocking Ronaldinho's cross with his hand. Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca was right but it was harsh on Wilshere.
Ronaldinho shimmied his way to the spot and did not strike his shot with great power but it still amounted to a wonderful demonstration of Hart's goalkeeping ability.
The most impressive part was not actually the first save but the way he was up on his feet in a flash and diving at Ronaldinho's feet to prevent him turning in the rebound. Neymar was first to the loose ball but Cleverley was sliding in at full pelt to spare England from going behind.
Neymar had also missed a glorious chance in the 38th minute from Oscar's far-post cross.
Brazil equalised early in the second half. Gary Cahill tried to carry the ball out of defence but when he lost possession Fred finished briskly to the corner past Hart.
England earned the win though after an hour. Walcott attacked from the right and, though Brazil retrieved possession, Rooney quickly won it back. Lampard's finish was on the volley, expertly steered inside the post.
ENGLAND: Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Smalling, Cole (Baines, 46), Cleverley (Lampard, 46), Gerrard, Wilshere, Walcott (Lennon, 75), Rooney, Welbeck (Milner, 61). Subs not used: Walker, Butland, Jagielka, Lescott, Osman, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
BRAZIL: J Cesar, Dani Alves, D Luiz (Miranda, 78), Dante, Adriano (Filipe, 69), Paulinho (Jean, 62), Ramires (Arouka, 46), Ronaldinho (da Silva Lucas, 46), Neymar, Fabiano (Fred, 46), Oscar. Subs not used: Alves, F Luis, Leandro Castan, Hulk.
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)