England battled to hold Brazil to a 0-0 draw at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night in an international friendly.
Gareth Southgate’s men were given a tough examination of their credentials as next summer’s World Cup in Russia draws ever closer. Five-time World Champions Brazil dominated possession on the night but an experimental Three Lions side held firm to notch their second consecutive stalemate of the international break.
Lions hold Seleção for first 45
England stopper Joe Hart was the first to be called into action as he dropped low to catch Gabriel Jesus’ header from inside the penalty area. The ex-West Ham United goalkeeper was then comfortable as he watched Paulinho’s shot from distance fly high and wide. The Brazilians continued to probe and Neymar saw efforts soar over the crossbar.
The home side did eventually create their own openings, however Rashford was just unable to turn as he latched on Jamie Vardy’s knock-down. Paulinho found space in the closing stages of the first half but nodded wide of the Three Lions’ goal. Neymar also had a low cross of his own cut out by Hart as the opening period came to a close.
Limp Lions struggle to trouble Brazil
Tite’s men certainly returned to the pitch with much of the same motivation. Breaking from an England attack, Neymar played a wonderful ball through to Coutinho but Hart was out quickly to stop well.
Marcus Rashford then attempted to show some Brazilian flair as he jinked his way into the penalty area but the ball was cleared by Miranda. Ryan Bertrand tried to find Jamie Vardy with curling cross but the ball only found its way into the arms of Alisson Becker in the away goal.
Following a flurry of substitutions, which saw the likes of Tammy Abraham, Dominic Solanke and Roberto Firmino introduced, Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho nearly opened the scoring. The 32-year-old trotted through the England midfield and unleashed a low drive that kissed the post and deflected away.
Another substitute Ashley Young then played a key role in keeping the scores level. Willian broke through on the England net and looked certain to score before the Manchester United man put in an excellent block to deny the Chelsea man.
The England defence was then under immense pressure again in the closing stages. Ex-Tottenham Hotspur man Paulinho found space on the right-side of the penalty area only to see his powerful drive thunder into the chest of Hart.
Golden chances in the last seconds
Both teams did carve out opportunities as the final whistle drew closer. It was the home side however who will have felt they could have snatched the game. Liverpool forward Solanke picked up the ball at the back post and with no Brazilian body anywhere to be seen, should have found the back of the net but Alisson cleared.
Neymar then squirted a shot just wide of goal from the edge of the area with the England defence looking scarce. Both sides continued to push but both went away from Wembley with a hard-earned draw.
Despite Brazil dominating the exchanges throughout the majority of the evening, their defence was eye-catching. Playing three at the back, the Three Lions contained Brazil well. Their attack though was where they were mainly lacking as both Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford really struggled to make a telling impact.
Brazil meanwhile arrived at Wembley and played some sumptuous ‘samba’ football. Neymar particularly impressed for the visitors but caught Joe Hart and his fellow England defence on an excellent night and were simply not able to beat the keeper.
England: Hart (7); Maguire (7), Gomez (8), Stones (7); Bertrand (7) (Young (N/A), 80′), Livermore (6) (Rose (N/A), 90′), Dier (7), Loftus-Cheek (6) (Lingard (7), 35′), Walker (6); Rashford (6) (Abraham (5), 75′), Vardy (5) (Solanke (5), 75′).
Brazil: Alisson (7); Dani Alves (7), Miranda (7), Marquinhos (6), Marcelo (8); Casemiro (6), Paulinho (7), Augusto (7) (Fernandinho (6), 68′); Coutinho (7) (Willian (6), 68′), Neymar (7), Jesus (6) (Firmino (N/A), 76′).
Referee: Artur Soares Dias
Yellow Cards: Dani Alves (56′)
Red Cards: N/A
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