Ashley Cole played the first 45 minutes of England’s 2-1 win over Brazil on Wednesday night and in doing so, made his 100 appearance for his country. Frank Lampard struck the winning goal.
Everyone at Chelsea Football Club congratulates Cole on his momentous achievement.
The 32-year-old started all 100 of those games, 48 have been as a Chelsea player, and as a defender he can take satisfaction in England having kept a clean sheet before half-time at Wembley tonight when he was substituted.
He joins sixth other centurions – Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108), Bobby Charlton (106), Billy Wright (105) and Steven Gerrard (101).
Cole said before the game about the milestone: ‘It is a very proud moment for me and my family.
‘I’d like to say I’ve been consistent for 12 years playing for England. I’ve gone through a few managers but to have always been in the squads and played and gone to tournaments makes you realise that you have done a good job for your clubs as well.’
He recalled his debut in a World Cup qualifier away in Albania in March 2001.
‘I was a little bit nervous but I had trained and played and worked hard to get to where I want to be. To get that England call-up and to get my first game was a dream come true and I didn’t want it to stop there.’
Cole was one of two Chelsea starters for the home side against Brazil. Gary Cahill was also part of the defence, winning his 13th cap.
All three of Chelsea’s Brazilians began the game. David Luiz was passed fit after a recent calf injury and was captain. Ramires played in a deep role with Oscar more attacking, predominantly on the right which brought him into direct contest with Cole.
Cahill was called upon to execute a well-judged sliding tackle on Neymar inside the area early on, and the Chelsea man again dealt with Neymar soon after as an Oscar pass threatened to send the Santos striker through. Oscar shot off-target soon after.
Brazil won a 17th-minute penalty for handball by Jack Wilshere but both it and the follow-up shot were saved by Joe Hart.
Danny Welbeck missed a chance and Cole tried a rare shot from distance before England took the lead on 25 minutes. Theo Walcott had a shot saved but Wayne Rooney slotted the rebound.
Brazil could have equalised but Neymar could not place a wonderful Oscar cross on-target. Walcott had a testing shot saved before the break.
Lampard came on for the second half to make his 94th England appearance. Ramires, like Cole, was replaced at the interval.
With two minutes of the second half played, Cahill lost possession midway inside his own-half and another substitute, Fred, was able to level the scores. The same player hit the crossbar moments later.
Cahill recovered from his mistake to stop the impressive Oscar getting in a shot and then had a header from a corner tipped over having escaped the marking of David Luiz.
Just before the hour, Lampard made it 2-1 with a crisp shot from the edge of the area which went in off the post. It was a typically instinctive finish and was England goal no. 27 for the Chelsea midfielder.
David Luiz came off on 78 minutes with no sign of injury difficulty and England saw out the remaining minutes relatively comfortably, meriting the win over Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side and a first victory over Brazil for 23 years.
A round-up of other Chelsea players in friendly international action on Wednesday will appear shortly.