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How will England line up against Italy in Brazil?

Roy Hodgson

With England’s World Cup opener in Manaus now only two weeks away, what did the friendly win over Peru tell us about their starting XI?

England’s final game on home soil before this summer’s World Cup saw a comfortable 3-0 victory over Peru at Wembley on Friday.

What could arguably be described as a low-key warm-up match for Roy Hodgson’s men, the main talking point from the night perhaps transpired before kick-off when the teams’ line-ups were announced, possibly giving one an insight into how England will line up against Italy in Manaus on June 14.

Danny Welbeck was the preferred choice to start in one of the wide positions despite a questionably below par season for Manchester United, but as Hodgson himself pointed out, the 23-year-old has been one of the most consistent performers when it has come to the Three Lions.

Interestingly, when looking at England’s final friendly at Wembley before the European Championships two years ago, the side that Hodgson selected in a 1-0 win over Belgium was the same that featured in their opening game of Euro 2012 against France, barring the absence of Gary Cahill, who missed the tournament after sustaining an injury in that particular victory at Wembley.

This is in contrast to former manager Fabio Capello, who used the pre-tournament friendly internationals four years ago to decide who made the cut in his final World Cup squad. Theo Walcott was a starter in England’s 3-1 victory over Mexico at Wembley in May 2010, before being omitted by the Italian.

As the England squad prepares to jet off to Miami for two further friendly matches against Ecuador and Honduras, if Hodgson has decided his starting XI for the opener against Italy, then it will be interesting to see the teams he selects for these games as the conditions are likely to be similar to those expected in Manaus in a fortnight.

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