TheFA.com casts an eye back to the last, and to date only, time England have met
TheFA.com casts an eye back to the last, and to date only, time England have met South Africa. In a friendly match at Old Trafford an Ian Wright strike late in the second half secured a 2-1 win for Glenn Hoddle's side...
For a change, England were playing at Old Trafford's Theatre of Dreams rather than Wembley's Venue of Legends and a near capacity crowd on a balmy evening saw them achieve a morale-boosting victory against the African Nations Cup holders a week before the more serious business in Chorzow.
But there was a price to pay - just before the hour mark Jamie Redknapp went off with an ankle injury which was later diagnosed as a break and in the last seconds Paul Gascoigne was stretchered off in clear discomfort after a crude lunge by substitute Buthelezi had bruised a calf.
England were playing only their second 'home' match away from Wembley since early 1966 and there was a Euro 96-esque atmosphere in the ground. At the finish Glenn Hoddle declared that it had been a valuable exercise for England, despite the injuries.
Ian Wright, Philip Neville and the debutant substitute, Paul Scholes, all took the opportunity to impress. England showed eight changes from the side which had beaten Georgia - Seaman and Shearer were rested and Ince and Adams were also missing. But they were still markedly superior to an enthusiastic South African team without a cutting edge in attack.
Teddy Sheringham was revelling in the space allowed him and after two close calls involving Wright, a deep cross from the left was chested down by Neville inside the box and transfderred quickly to Robert Lee who shot crisply home at the second attempt.
Against the run of play the visitors conjured up an equaliser just before the break, Masinga scoring with a simple header after Moshoeu had beaten a hesitant Nigel Martyn to a bouncing ball.
Gascoigne curled a 25-yard free kick against the angle in the second half and, with fifteen minutes left, another free kick was flicked on by Scholes for Wright to swivel and shoot into the corner. There was, however, just a hint of handball by the Arsenal striker.
England: Martyn; P Neville, Keown, Southgate, Pearce; Lee (Butt), Gascoigne (Campbell), Redknapp (Batty), Le Saux (Beckham); Wright, Sheringham (Scholes)
South Africa: Arendse; Motaung, Fish, Tovey, Radebe; Khumalo (Mkhalele), Tinkler (Buthelezi), Moeti, Moshoeu; Masinga (Bartlett), Augustine (Sikhosana)
Referee: Anders Frisk (Sweden)