Dream debut for Rickie Lambert as tradition revived

Story highlights

  • England beat Scotland 3-2 in friendly international at Wembley
  • Winner scored by Rickie Lambert on his debut at 31 years of age
  • Paraguay hold Germany in six-goal thriller in Kaiserlautern
  • Argentina win 2-1 in Italy with Gonzalo Higuain scoring opener

Hostilities were resumed in the oldest international rivalry in football Wednesday and although billed as a friendly England and Scotland served up a fiercely competitive encounter at Wembley settled by a dream winner from debutant Rickie Lambert.

The 31-year-old Southampton striker was summoned off the bench by England manager Roy Hodgson just after the hour mark and within moments had put them 3-2 ahead with a thumping header from a corner.

Lambert replaced Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, who has been the subject of continued speculation about his future with Chelsea keen for his signature.

Rooney looked short of match practice and had few opportunities to add to his international tally of 36 goals but a near capacity crowd had plenty of action and atmosphere to soak up.

The two sides first played in 1872 with Scotland always keen to beat the "Auld Enemy" and in particular at Wembley Stadium.

Read: FIFA call for unity over 2018 World Cup

Annual matches between the two ended in 1989 but to mark the 150th anniversary of the English Football Association, the fixture was revived as a one-off, the first clash between the teams for 14 years.

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The thousands of fanatical Scottish fans, who drowned out the home support at times, were celebrating first when James Morrison put them ahead with a dipping shot which deceived England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Theo Walcott soon equalized after racing on to Tom Cleverley's through ball, but Scotland went ahead just after halftime when veteran striker Kenny Miller found space to turn and shoot home.

Again the lead was short lived and Manchester United's Danny Welbeck headed England level again.

The script was written for Lambert, who had spent much of his early career in the lower leagues, to come on and score a fairytale winner, rising to connect with a pinpoint delivery from Leighton Baines.

Lambert might have added to his tally as a later effort thumped the post, but it sent the England fans home happy ahead of crucial World Cup qualification matches next month.

"I've been dreaming of that all my life. It means so much," Lambert told ITV Sport.

In other key friendlies Wednesday, Paraguay held Germany 3-3 in Kaiserslautern but led 2-0 and 3-2. Miguel Samudio put them ahead for the final time until Lars Bender salvaged a draw for Germany with a 75th minute equalizer.

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Argentina did not miss Lionel Messi as they edged Italy 2-1 in Rome. Gonzalo Higuain and Ever Banega put them in control with second half goals. Lorenzo Insigne pulled one back late on for the home side.

Read: Messi and Balotelli meet the Pope

2014 World Cup hosts Brazil crashed to a 1-0 defeat in Switzerland, a 48th minute own goal from Dani Alves sinking Luiz Felipe Scolari's men in Basel.

A Jozy Altidore hat-trick helped the United States to a 4-3 win in Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic emulated him as Sweden thumped Norway 4-2.

In competitive action, Russia's hopes of World Cup qualification were dented by a 1-0 loss to minnows Northern Ireland in Belfast.

Martin Paterson scored the only goal to sink the Fabio Capello's men, who remain two points behind Portugal but with a game in hand.

Portugal were playing to a 1-1 friendly draw against the Netherlands with Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing a late equalizer.

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