Emdad Rahman: Several players are missing for England’s glamour friendly against Brazil. The game at Wembley which heralds 150 years for the FA has already seen Daniel Sturridge, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe pull out of the 24 man squad.
No such worries for Ashley Cole though, and the Chelsea left back has been assured by Roy Hodgson that he will win his 100th cap against the seleção tonight. The England Manager announced: "If Ashley is fit he will play on Wednesday and get his 100th cap."
Referring to the exclusion of the in form Leighton Baines the Hodgson added: "But there will come a time when both are fit for an important match and I will have to disappoint one of them.
"They will just have to fight it out and I'm sure the competition between them will be fierce.
"Then I'll have to make a decision."
Captain Steven Gerrard welcome his team mate to the century club and singled out Cole as one of England’s outstanding performers during the time he has played for his country. "He deserves to be on the list,” said Gerrard. "If I look at players throughout my career he has been the most consistent players in an England shirt and at times has proved he is one of the best left-backs in the world."
Brazil dominate in games against England, with a mere three losses from 23 amongst a run of internationals stretching back to 1956. The first game was witnessed by 97,000, cheering the Three Lions to an overwhelming 4-2 win at Wembley. Brazilians used to the subtle and intricate play of Garrincha, Pele, Tostao, Jairzinho and Zico watched in sheer awe as John Barnes ran rings whilst performing his exclusive Samba show in the Maracana during a 2-0 win in 1984. I watched a 1-0 win six years later in 1990 when Gary Lineker scored the winner at Wembley. By beating Taffarel with a poacher’s diving header Lineker equalled the 30 goal England goal scoring totals of football giants Nat Lofthouse and Tom Finney. There has not been a victory in the 23 years since, despite games in the US Cup, Umbro Cup, Le Tournoi De France and the 2002 World Cup cliff hanger in Shizuoka.
At Wembley, ex Chelsea Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari starts his second spell with the Samba Boys and the 64 year old has mixed old with new, with the recall of Ronaldinho surprising quite a few. "It is obviously a special occasion, and a game between two big footballing nations," said the ex Barcelona star.
"But the thing that matters is that I am back in the Brazil squad. I need to show I can play a big part in the next World Cup."
Roy Hodgson named a 24 man squad last Thursday and is looking forward to a double header against the five time world cup winners. There is a rematch taking place between the two nations in June. He said: “It is a game I am really looking forward to. It is always a momentous occasion when you play Brazil.
Jack Wilshere is likely to start and Theo Walcott may pair up with Wayne Rooney in attack. David Luiz will have a calf scan. Others in the fray to start the game are Chelsea’s Oscar and Ramires. Queen’s Park Rangers Julio Cesar is also in the squad.
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Joe Hart.
Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker.
Midfielders: Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Leon Osman, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere.
Strikers: Wayne Rooney, Daniel Welbeck.