England Vs. Italy 2012: Defoe's Moment of Brilliance Gives Three Lions a 2-1 Win

After a fairly pedestrian 80 minutes of soccer, Jermaine Defoe's lovely strike from distance gave England a late winner over Italy in front of a sparse crowd at the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf.

Italy opened the scoring in the 15th minute of a fairly pedestrian header from Daniele De Rossi. The Roma man was able to find plenty of space between the England defender and get his head on Alessandro Diamanti's corner. The ball wasn't sent towards net with a lot of force, but it had enough to squeeze between the crossbar and the extended fingertips of goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Laird James McCullen Destro XXIV, I mean, Mattia Destro looked dangerous on a couple long ball over the top of the English defense. Fortunately for Hodgsen's men, he wasn't able to handle the first ball and the second one, despite a fantastic first touch to corral it, was wasted with a rushed shot.

After a clever bit of combination play between Adam Johnson and Kyle Walker earned a corner, Phil Jagielka equalized for England with his first career international goal in the 27th minute. Frank Lampard's corner kick was a bit low towards the center of the box and Jagielka was about to wrestle ahead of defender Federico Balzaretti, putting his head near the Italians boot as he headed the ball at the undefended far post.

Despite the goals, it wasn't the most of enthralling halves of soccer you'll ever see...at least not enough to keep this guy awake.

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England's other young goalkeeper John Ruddy took over for Butland at halftime as Hodgson looked to get both men some international experience. Andy Carroll, who was largely ineffective, left at halftime in favor of Jermaine Defoe.

Gary Cahill unleashed a sweet strike in the 66th minute that found the back of the net...unfortunately, Joleon Lescott was whistled for a foul in the box before the shot as he wrestled with an Italian defender. Cahill seemed none to pleased with the call, a rightly so, both players had fistfuls of jersey, but alas the half plodded on.

Ryan Bertrand's clearance off the line in the 79th minute allowed England to counter attack and led to the match winner. England quickly moved the ball forward before getting the ball on the foot on Jermaine Defoe who danced around a defender and launched a wicked shot that glanced off the fingers of a diving Salvatore Sirigu before deflecting back in to the net off the post. After some pretty listless soccer, it was a welcome moment of brilliance from the Spurs forward.

In conclusion, I'm sure both coaches saw some things that will help them moving forward but for the rest of us, international friendlies are...well, you know.

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