England cruise to first Soccer Aid win over World XI since 2018 despite Eden Hazard goal on Chelsea return

England ended their six-year wait for a Soccer Aid win (Getty Images)
England ended their six-year wait for a Soccer Aid win (Getty Images)

England earned their first Soccer Aid win since 2018 as they beat the World XI 6-3 at Stamford Bridge.

The fixture was once again being staged to raise money for UNICEF, and total of more than £15million on the night took the tally raised since the first Soccer Aid match in 2006 well beyond the £100m mark.

There was a strong Chelsea connection to this year’s clash, with Mauricio Pochettino and Frank Lampard the two managers and Eden Hazard among the former Blues stars making their return to west London.

Joe Cole was one of those and he opened the scoring after six minutes, firing home from a Jack Wilshere cross, but the class of the World XI front-line ensured there was an immediate response.

Hazard delighted the Stamford Bridge fans by curling a free-kick past, or rather through, David James, before Alessandro Del Piero made no mistake from close range after he was played in by Usain Bolt.

England went in at the break level, though, thanks to a goal from Ellen White, who tapped home after brilliant work from Wilshere to become the first female scorer in Soccer Aid history.

The arrival of Tony Bellew and Paddy McGuinness as second-half goalkeepers ensured the goals continued to flow, with Dragons Den star Steven Bartlett netting a brace, the second coming as he charged down an attempted clearance from the typically irritated Bellew.

Jermain Defoe got on the scoresheet too, skipping past Bolt who in the process of attempting to halt his progress injured himself, and had to be stretchered off.

A penalty for the World XI from Billy Wingrove, after Patrice Evra had been dragged down, pulled it back to 5-3, raising slim hopes of a late comeback, but England slammed the door shut again. Karen Carney scooped the ball over top, Theo Walcott ran through and lifted a finish over Bellew, capping a hugely successful night on and off the pitch.