BRAZIL 2, ENGLAND 2
Brazil and England played out an entertaining draw which showed the potential of both sides. Like his father before him, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored at the Maracana but England couldn’t hold on for victory against a Brazil side who arguably deserved more than a draw in the end.
England manager Roy Hodgson was disappointed at not being able to hold on to the win but appreciated the Maracana test.
“We can be a bit disappointed today because we could have held on but were scotched by a wonderstrike.” he said.
“We didn’t play anywhere near as well as we would have liked in the first half so on balance a draw was a fair result.” he added.
Hodgson went on to praise the contribution of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who came on as a substitute and levelled the scores in the second half.
“Alex added another dimension and got his just reward with a goal.”
Unlike in 1984, this was a strong Brazil side selected by Luiz Felipe Scolari with the Confederations Cup in mind and they started with a win in mind against an England side who suffered in the heat and made things worse for themselves by giving the ball away too much during the last game of the season for the visitors.
England ‘keeper Joe Hart was England’s best player in a tentative first half and put a mixed season for Manchester City behind him with a string of superb saves including a treble first half save to deny a resurgent Brazil attack
Dani Alves tested Hart’s resolve with an early shot, Neymar soon tested Hart after Glen Johnson misjudged a 40 yard ball to the back post – the Man City ‘keeper cleared with his chest.
Neymar also found space for a strike which went wide before Oscar’s cross for Fred was deflected away by Johnson.
Hart saved England again with a treble save to stop chances for Hulk and Filipe Luis twice with the loose ball.
Hulk’s backheel flick almost crept in at the back post as England continued to weather the Brazil storm in the first half before a chance fell to Theo Walcott at the end of the first half but the Arsenal striker was foiled by QPR’s Julio Cesar while Frank Lampard had a chance from an acute angle beaten away by the Brazilian ‘keeper.
Hart was finally beaten in the second half after Fred was first to react to a Hernanes’s shot which rebounded off the woodwork and returned the ball past Hart who had dived to his left to try and block the first effort.
Leighton Baines was visibly struggling with injury in the first half and had to be replaced by Ashley Cole after succumbing to injury.
Roy Hodgson was forced to make further tactical changes after going behind and introduced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as England chased the game. James Milner earned a corner as England started to push harder and Wayne Rooney spurned the chance to head England level.
England were level after a great move which saw Lampard feed Rooney who laid it off to Oxlade-Chamberlain and his strike flew in at the near post beyond Julio Cesar.
England were in wonderland minutes later when Rooney ran at the Brazil defence and his strike took a deflection off Fernando to go past Julio Cesar.
Their surprise lead lasted less than four minutes, though, as Brazail levelled matters through a sweetly struck volley by Paulinho from Lucas Moura’s cross in the final minutes.
A draw was the least that Brazil deserved in a game which they will feel they could have won.