ENGLAND’s blueprint for a better football future continued as another inexperienced line-up were put to the test against one of the World’s top footballing nations.
Just as four days before against Germany, a virtual B team put in an impressive defensive display against a full strength Brazil side. But for better finishing, they might have strutted away with a win.
Brazil themselves could easily have won by a three-goal scoreline, but for the base of a post and a couple of smart saves from Joe Hart. That would have been unfair on this young England side, who are improving hugely at the back.
“There are real positive signs.” said coach Gareth Southgate after the match.
” Our defensive performance was outstanding against the best team in the World; They had their full team out.”
Southgate started with six of the team that took the field on Friday, with Joe Gomez making his full debut and Ruben Loftus-Cheek continuing in midfield, although the Chelsea youngster was forced off through injury after only 20 minutes, and was replaced by Jesse Lingard.
Gomez didn’t put a foot wrong, and was awarded man of the match for his close attention of the World’s most expensive player, Neymar.
The Brazilians had started the match in control of possession (some 70%) without ever threatening Hart’s goal. England just couldn’t get the ball – when they did, they quickly lost it.
Rashford’s long range daisycutter was England’s sole first half effort, though Brazil didn’t fair much better, with only one on target of their own.
It was a poor first half, though England were at least comfortable, and all the Brazilian circus had to show for their drums and dancing, were a series of shots that comfortably made row Z, corner flag side.
The second half was more of a contest, but England were rock solid at the back.
On the handful of occasions, Brazil were able to break through England’s disciplined ranks, bodies got in the way, or Joe Hart’s legs and torso did, when he denied Philippe Coutinho and then Paulinho.
Southgate brought on Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke, who should have celebrated his first cap with the winner in injury time, but the ball got stuck as he took aim and Brazil keeper Alisson blocked the shot.
In all two solid performances and valuable experience for England’s young team against high calibre opponents, and with the likes of Totenham’s trio of Harry Kane, Deli Alli and Harry Winks to return, Southgate and Three Lions supporters, can look forward to a more promising future for the national team.
England: Hart; Gomez, Stones, Maguire; Walker, Bertrand (Young 80); Livermore (Rose 89), Loftus-Cheek (Lingard 34), Dier; Rashford (Abraham 75), Vardy (Solanke 75)
Subs not used: Pickford, Gunn, Trippier, Cahill, Keane, Cork, Cook
Brazil: Alisson, Alves (C), Marquinhos, Miranda, Marcelo; Casemiro, Paulinho, Renato Augusto (Fernandinho 67); Coutinho (Willian 67), Gabriel Jesus, Neymar
Subs not used: Cassio, Emerson, Jemerson, Sandro, Costa, Silvia, Giuliano, Diego, Danilo, Taison, Souza