It ended all square in the first meeting of England and the Republic of Ireland for 18 years as a classy Frank Lampard finish cancelled out Shane Long's opener at Wembley.
Before kick-off, Ashley Cole, England captain for the night, was presented with a commemorative golden cap in recognition of his 100-plus international appearances, but within 13 minutes his team were behind to Long's smart header.
Lampard swiftly equalised with his 29th England goal, meaning both sides head into their respective weekend friendlies unbeaten in four games apiece this year.
The backing provided by the 10,000 or so visiting supporters helped ensure the atmosphere for the first encounter between these nations since 1995 was more akin to that of a competitive match.
Responding in kind, both teams set about proceedings at a breathless tempo, with Ireland landing the first blow. Robbie Keane – making his 124th outing for his country, one shy of Shay Given's national record – fed Seamus Coleman, whose inviting right-wing cross was headed in by the industrious Long, rising above Glen Johnson.
Within ten minutes, though, Roy Hodgson's men were level, Daniel Sturridge marking his first England start with an assist. Lampard, taking advantage of Sean St Ledger's failure to cut out the cross, slipped the ball beyond David Forde. That proved Sturridge's last significant act, however – the lone forward soon departed on a stretcher following a tackle by Glenn Whelan.
After the restart, St Ledger atoned for his part in the equaliser by clearing over his crossbar just as Cole seemed certain touch in Theo Walcott's knock-back. The pace, like the first half, was unrelenting and only a sharp stop by Forde prevented Walcott finishing off a swift England break.
With the hosts pushing for a winner and Ireland now playing on the counter, Forde denied Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and moments later, Walcott as the clock ticked down. While England head to Brazil, Ireland return home to face Georgia on Sunday before hosting the Faroe Islands in a key FIFA World Cup qualifier on 7 June.