PICTURES

Football: England held by Ireland in lively Wembley friendly

LONDON (REUTERS) - England drew 1-1 with Ireland for the fourth time in a row in an entertaining friendly at Wembley on Wednesday.

Shane Long gave Ireland an early lead but Frank Lampard quickly equalised and although England dominated possession they failed to conjure up another goal in the teams' first meeting since their 1995 friendly in Dublin was abandoned due to crowd trouble.

Ashley Cole captained England in honour of his recent 100th cap but the left back had a quiet match before leaving the field to warm applause after being substituted in the second half.

After a lively start by both teams, Ireland took the lead in the 13th minute with an excellent goal.

Right back Seamus Coleman swung in a teasing cross from the right and Long climbed above Glen Johnson to flick a firm header into the far corner of the net from 10 metres out.

The Ireland fans celebrated wildly and green smoke drifted across the pitch but England equalised 10 minutes later.

Daniel Sturridge held up possession on the left and waited for Lampard to make a trademark late run into the box and the prolific midfielder controlled the ball before flicking it low into the net from six metres.

England have not beaten Ireland since 1985 and they struggled to break down Giovanni Trapattoni's fiercely committed and well organised side.

Theo Walcott made a couple of jinking runs down England's right and tested Ireland goalkeeper David Forde with a rasping shot after 65 minutes.

Both managers made several substitutions but Ireland looked dangerous on the break and England should have snatched the winner six minutes from time, Forde doing well to smother Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot with the goal at the winger's mercy.

England travel to Rio de Janeiro to play Brazil in a friendly on Sunday.

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