Brazil loses to England for first time in 23 years
LONDON (AP) -Luiz Felipe Scolari made an unsuccessful return as Brazil coach on Wednesday as the team's 23-year unbeaten record against England ended with a 2-1 loss at Wembley Stadium.
Frank Lampard curled the match-winner in off the post on the hour after Fred canceled out Wayne Rooney's opener for England.
Beating the five-time world champions for the first time since 1990 will raise English expectations as they try to ensure they qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year.
"We've got to get to Brazil, but if we continue with that attitude and get a bit more flow to our game we should be all right,'' Lampard said.
But Scolari was not concerned by his team's underwhelming performance as he focused on the bigger picture: replicating his 2002 World Cup triumph with Brazil on home soil next year.
"I am not disappointed - I am not sad,'' said Scolari, who was brought back in November after a decade to replace the fired Mano Menezes.
Despite spending just two days with the squad in London, Scolari had insisted that the short preparation time could not be used as an excuse.
"We aren't in the best physical shape yet but we will work on it,'' Scolari said. "I think it was physical problems that we had.''
And his side had been presented with the perfect chance to take the lead in London when England midfielder Jack Wilshere conceded a penalty by handling to block a cross from Oscar.
But the penalty was missed by Ronaldinho, who had been recalled to the squad after a year out of favor to win his 100th cap.
The only celebrating for Ronaldinho would be before the match when he was presented with a commemorative "100'' shirt.
England was also marking player landmarks. Captain Steven Gerrard received a special UEFA cap to mark the 100th one he won in November, while defender Ashley Cole became a centurion in this match.
The architect of the opening goal, though, was a player making just his seventh England appearance.
Making his first start since June 2011 after a succession of injury problems, Wilshere threaded a precise pass into the penalty area for Theo Walcott.
Although his Arsenal teammate was denied by goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Rooney seized on the loose ball and slotted it through three Brazilians into the back of the net.
It was Rooney's fourth goal in three England games after struggling at the European Championship.
The Brazilian threat was coming down the right flank courtesy of Oscar who was causing troubling for Chelsea teammate Cole.
After breaking past the left back, Oscar whipped in a pinpoint cross to the far post where Neymar made a weak connection as he slid in and sent the ball over an empty net.
But English were more composed side in the first half as they pressed for the second goal.
Wilshere was the engine in the England midfield and set up Rooney only for the Manchester United striker to shoot wide.
And just before half time, Walcott was thwarted by Cesar again from a tight angle, but there was no England player on hand this time to seize the ball.
Cesar couldn't keep hold of the ball in the second half either when Gerrard's 25-yard strike bounced in front of the Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper and he spilled the save. Wilshere, though, struck wide from the rebound.
Instead, Brazil leveled in the 48th after Gary Cahill ran out of the England defense and Neymar intercepted the ball, which broke forward for Fred to dispatch past Hart.
As the ball landed in the net, Cahill had his head in his hands, but it was Hart who was nearly left red faced next.
The Manchester City goalkeeper's weak clearance allowed Fred to unleash another shot which hit the bar this time.
Cahill nearly made amends in the 55th when he connected with Gerrard's corner but the center back's header was tipped over by Cesar.
Five minutes later, however, Cesar was beaten again.
Walcott went past Adriano and whipped in a cross that was blocked by Dante. The Brazilians couldn't clear the danger and Rooney was able to flick the ball on to Lampard, who curled the ball off the post into the net to claim his 27th international goal.
"It's my first crack at Brazil as a manager and I'm delighted to have been able to oversee a victory,'' England coach Roy Hodgson said. "It was an all-round performance from the team, there were some very, very good moments.''