England won the bi-annual Soccer Aid match on penalties after an entertaining 3-3 draw that saw Eric Cantona take to the Old Trafford pitch once more.
The event pitted a host of stars against each other in front of a sell-out crowd and it appeared before the match that the World XI may have the footballing advantage.
Clarence Seedorf, Robert Pires and Patrick Kluivert were among their ranks, but England were able to match them with a few sporting stars of their own, including Sir Mo Farah, Jamie Redknapp and Michael Owen, before clinching it on penalties.
Eric Cantona made a sensational return to the Old Trafford pitch for Soccer Aid
The former Man United star received an ovation as he entered the fray in the second-half
Darren Bent, who spent the second-half of last season playing in the Championship with Burton Albion, put England ahead in the 12th minute. The forward sold the dummy to Edwin Van der Sar and Kevin Pietersen, allowing him to roll it in to an empty net.
There were appeals for a penalty when Juan Veron went down under a challenge from Sir Mo Farah. But referee Mark Clattenburg was having none of it as he told the former Man United midfielder to get up.
Premier League winner, Yaya Toure, tried to pull the strings for the World XI in midfield and was booed every time he picked up the ball at Old Trafford.
England’s second was scored by Jeremy Lynch, the F2 Freestyler, as he volleyed it beyond the outstretched Van der Sar.
Darren Bent (C) put England ahead early on as he sold the dummy to Edwin Van der Sar (L)
Bent dragged the ball back onto his left foot before rolling it into an empty net
Arsenal legend David Seaman (R) clears as the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, closes in on him
Jeremy Lynch (C) volleyed it beyond Van der Sar (L) to make it 2-0 to England at Old Trafford
Robbie Keane (R) managed to scramble the ball home at the second time of asking
England: Seaman, Wright, Neville, Brown, Farah, Lewis, Stephenson, Murphy, Lynch, Murs, Bent
Subs: McGuiness, Wicks, Owen, Redknapp, Brown, Mack, Fowler, Flintoff, Harrison, O’Connell
Manager: Sam Allardyce
Scorers: Bent 12, Lynch 23, Owen 82
Rest of World: Van der Sar, Fongho, Stam, Pietersen, O’Carroll, Toure, Veron, Compston, Carter, Keane, Bolt
Subs: Seedorf, Pires, Ramsay, Cole, Christensen, Kluivert, Cantona, Gruffudd, Byrne
Manager: Harry Redknapp
Scorers: Keane 26, Veron 42, Seedorf 59
The World XI pulled one back through Robbie Keane midway through the first-half. He was involved in the build-up as he played it out wide to All Blacks legend Dan Carter, who showed his left foot is as gifted with a football as it is a rugby ball.
He put it on a six pence for Keane, who managed to scramble it beyond David Seaman at the second time of asking.
Moments later Usain Bolt poked the ball in after being played through by Keane, but he was ruled offside. If anyone didn’t need a yard advantage there, it was him.
Veron grabbed an equaliser just before half-time with a quick swivel as he fired it between the old guard of Phil Neville and Wes Brown to make it 2-2.
In the second-half the World XI turned up the heat. Bolt fired one against the crossfire and the ball looked as though it may have crossed the line. There was no VAR to prove otherwise.
Keane (L) lifted it over Seaman and tapped it in to make it 2-1 to England as comeback began
Juan Veron (L) scored an equaliser just before half-time and Phil Neville (R) could only watch
Usain Bolt sported a jersey with the number 9.58 on the back, his 100m world record time
Soon after, three footballing legends combined as Robert Pires, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert all linked up. Pires laid it into Seedorf, who played a quick one-two with Kluivert before firing it in. Class is permanent.
There was a late surprise for the fans at Old Trafford as a 52-year-old Eric Cantona made a sensational return to the hallowed turf.
But Jamie Redknapp grabbed the crowd’s attention as he thundered one against the post from range. Michael Owen proved that a striker’s instinct never dies as he was first to pounce on the rebound and equalise for England.
It went to penalties and with only celebrities allowed to take the spot kicks, it’s safe to say there was an array of skill on show.
Clarence Seedorf played a one-two with Patrick Kluivert to give World XI a 3-1 lead
There was a late surprise for Old Trafford as Eric Cantona made a sensational return
Michael Owen scored the equaliser as he latched on to a rebound off the post to make it 3-3