Brazil 2 England 2 World Cup friendly match report: Wayne Rooney and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain find spirit at the Maracana to inspire a Rio return

England improve after lacklustre first half showing

The Maracana Stadium

This was not, from England, the proverbial joga bonito for much of Sunday's game, in fact at times – let’s be honest - they were clinging on for dear life, but two goals and a draw at the Maracana is no bad result when the Brazilians are plain desperate to win.

Roy Hodgson’s team flew out of Rio de Janeiro hoping that they would be back next summer when the real business begins and while that job is very far from being complete, they showed a glimmer of the bloody-mindedness that might just see them through World Cup qualification.

At times they were denied the ball in the same manner that any tourists brave enough to challenge the local footballers on the Copacabana find themselves. The Brazilians passed fluently and pressed frantically. Hodgson’s players struggled to prise possession away and when they did they could hardly put together a sequence of passes worthy of the name.

But this is very far from a great Brazil team and the ferocity with which they approached the game in the first half could not be sustained. On the break in the second half, England were direct and both goals came when they ran at their opponents and put them under pressure. It might be generations until an English team can out-pass a Brazilian side. It might never happen. But there are other ways to compete.

Joe Hart was England’s outstanding player and kept them in the game in the first half. In the last 20 minutes, two excellent goals came from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a substitute, and Wayne Rooney who had led the line on his own in often unpromising circumstances. When they took the lead with 13 minutes remaining, the home crowd could scarcely believe it.

It will have been encouraging for Hodgson to see Rooney run confidently at the Brazil defence and strike a curling shot that found the top corner of Julio Cesar’s goal, via what looked like a deflection off the substitute Fernando. Goodness knows, he has been waiting for a moment like that in a bleak end to the season.

The first England goal was a great moment for young Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose father Mark Chamberlain played in the last England game at the stadium in June 1984 and was the first man to celebrate with John Barnes after his famous goal. For Hodgson it turned into good way to sign off after a difficult season. He is unbeaten against Brazil in two games and it was his opposite number Luiz Felipe Scolari who found himself booed for his substitutions.

This is not the most promising Brazil team ever assembled with a World Cup finals in one year’s time. Considering it is the first one on home soil since 1950, there is a very real chance that they could be in trouble. There were flashes from Neymar, the home team’s great hope but the man who dominates the billboards around Rio de Janeiro was not even his team’s best player.

After the grinding attempt to break down the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, this was very hot and very hard work and you could hardly deny that in the first half at least, that England stumbled through thanks largely to the work of Hart, who was magnificent. They could not stop Brazil’s possession and they expended a lot of energy discovering that reality.

The Brazilian team pressed them very high up the pitch and it proved beyond Hodgson’s players to move the ball quickly enough or with sufficient invention to get around them. In the second half that changed and as the Brazilians themselves slowed down so the chances opened up for England. Before the break, a chance for Walcott aside, they hardly had a sight of the Brazil goal.

With a central midfield trio of Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard, England had enough manpower in the middle of midfield, they just could not prevent Brazil from stretching them on both sides of the pitch and, when the ball was at Neymar’s feet, through the middle too.

Hart was superb, his first major save on 20 minutes when Glen Johnson could not get his clearance away at the back post and Neymar had a good chance. The first half was a struggle for Johnson who had Hulk on his case. He managed to clear a cross from Oscar ran dangerously across the England goal.

The home team deserved that goal before the break, none more so than when Luis Felipe and Neymar put Hulk in down their left and forced a save from Hart who was quick to get up again and block the follow-up from Neymar. When he is on this kind of form, with the shots coming thick and fast, the Manchester City goalkeeper is such a confident presence.

At the other end, for Rooney it was lung-busting, thankless stuff and his accidental exchange with Walcott that opened up a chance was about as good as it got for him. Leighton Baines, given a start by Hodgson, was replaced by Ashley Cole on 31 minutes with what looked like a blow to his hip sustained early in the game. Jones was limping for some of it after a tackle on Luis Felipe. England’s only chance of the first half came when Johnson played in Walcott whose shot was saved by Cesar.

After half-time Scolari made three substitutions before the goal finally came for Brazil, the third of which – Lucas Moura on for Oscar – was booed by the home fans. It was another substitute, Hernanes, of Lazio who made the goal. His curling shot from the left clipped Hart’s post and when it came down, the striker Fred was there to slip the ball in.

At that point, England might have crumbled but to their credit  they looked a bit stronger. The Brazilians’ frantic pressing game had abated somewhat and while the ball would not quite stick when it came to Walcott, there was at least a degree of good possession for the away team. Gary Cahill had a header from a corner that was just wide. James Milner’s shot on target was also deflected wide of the goal.

Then came the big moment for Oxlade-Chamberlain. He had come on for Johnson just after the hour and was played in the centre while Jones switched to right-back. England gained possession outside the Brazil area and finally it was Rooney who teed up the Arsenal man for a low, sweetly-struck drive past Cesar.

Next came Rooney’s goal. Good work by Milner on the left created the possession deep in the Brazil half and David Luiz backed off when Rooney ran at goal. When his shot dropped into Cesar’s net it prompted disbelief in the Maracana that they might just lose this game. They were desperate.

It would have been hard on the Brazilians to lose this game but they came close. Just six minute of regulation time remained when Lucas Moura crossed from the right and Paulinho, granted a little too much space, scored with a crisp volley. Once again, the Brazilians came at England but there was a degree of confidence back in Hodgson’s side. It will come in useful in  September and October.

Brazil (4-3-3): Julio Cesar; Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Filipe Luis; Gustavo, Paulinho, Oscar; Hulk, Fred, Neymar.

Substitutes BRA: Marcelo/Felipe Luis ht, Hernanes/Gustavo ht, Oscar/Moura 56, Fernando/Hulk 76, Damiao/Fred 80, Paulinho/Bernard 84. Not used: Dante, Cavalieri (gk), Jadson, Jean, Jefferson (gk), Damiao, Lucas, Rever.

 

England (4-1-4-1): Hart; Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines (Cole, 31); Carrick; Walcott, Jones, Lampard, Milner; Rooney.

Substitutes Johnson/Oxlade-Chamberlain 63, Walcott/Rodwell 84. Not used: McCarthy (gk), Foster (gk), Welbeck,, Defoe, Lescott.

Referee: W Roldan (Colombia)  

Man of the match: Hart

Attendance: 66, 015 Rating: 8

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm that there was a 'minor disturbance'

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album