With Marcus Rashford handed his full international bow by Roy Hodgson, the 18-year-old brought the house down with a goal less than three minutes into his debut.
It was a moment to savour too, as the Manchester United striker entered the history books as England’s youngest ever debut goalscorer before another record holder and United team-mate Wayne Rooney doubled the advantage after the break.
England 2-1 Australia
Friday 27 May 2016
Stadium Of Light, Sunderland
Live on ITV
The fans had barely had time to take their seats before Rashford made his record-breaking impact, by finishing well in the box after trading passes with Raheem Sterling to bring the roof off the Stadium Of Light.
He had chance to grab a second on the quarter-hour mark, when Sterling again picked him out on an England breakaway, but Rashford just lost control of the ball in the area as he shaped to shoot, allowing Mark Milligan to make a good recovery tackle.
Rashford almost turned provider in the 30th minute, collecting a cut-back from Ryan Bertrand before playing a first-time pass into Adam Lallana whose shot on the turn was well smothered by Matthew Ryan in the Australia goal.
And Jordan Henderson almost sealed a scoring return to his hometown five minutes before the break, when Sterling’s corner picked him out unmarked on the edge of the area before the Liverpool man’s curling shot was saved again by Ryan.
Half time saw Rooney enter the fray and it took just ten minutes for him to make an impact, as a swift breakaway led by Sterling saw a square pass find the Three Lions’ record goalscorer in space. A fine first-touch set the ball nicely, before he smashed his shot beyond Ryan and into the top corner.
England were made to sweat though, as the Socceroos were handed a lifeline with 15 minutes left when Mile Jedinak’s cross was met by the head of substitute Eric Dier, on for Chris Smalling to play in central defence, through the unfortunate Fraser Forster’s legs at the expense of an own goal.
That setback would prove insignificant enough though, as England played out until full time without any further worries and could even have added to their margin through Henderson, who shot over when well placed after a break and pass from Rooney.
England: 1 Fraser Forster (Southampton), 2 Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), 5 Chris Smalling (Manchester United) (c), 6 John Stones (Everton), 3 Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), 7 Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), 8 Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), 4 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 11 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), 9 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), 10 Adam Lallana (Liverpool)
Substitutes: 19 Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) for Wilshere 46, 14 James Milner (Liverpool) for Lallana 46, 22 Ross Barkley (Everton) for Rashford 63, 15 Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur) for Smalling 73, 17 Andros Townsend (Newcastle United) for Sterling 76, 13 Tom Heaton (Burnley) for Forster 87
Substitutes not used: 12 Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur), 18 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), 20 Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), 21 Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), 23 Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Goals: Marcus Rashford 3, Wayne Rooney 55
Australia: Matthew Ryan, Josh Risdon, Bailey Wright, Mark Milligan, Brad Smith, Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo, Tom Rogic, Robbie Kruse, Jamie Maclaren
Australia subs: Chris Ikonomidis for Luongo 58, Matt McKay for Maclaren 58, Tomi Juric for Rogic 74, Milos Degenek for Risdon 74, Jackson Irvine for Mooy 84, Craig Goodwin for Kruse 84.
Subs not used: Mark Birighitti, Behich, Brad Inman, Wilkinson, Adam Federici
Head coach: Ange Postecoglu
Goals: Eric Dier (OG) 76