Nilmar's header early in the second half condemned Fabio Capello's reshaped England side to a 1-0 defeat against Brazil in Qatar last night. England battled hard against the superior Brazilians before the Villarreal striker Nilmar headed Elano's pass beyond Ben Foster after 47 minutes.
Brazil's victory margin could have been greater but Luis Fabiano missed a penalty after Foster fouled Nilmar. Lucio also struck the post, while James Milner volleyed England's best chance over the top in the second half.
Capello will have been happy with how his understrength side stuck to their task in searing heat, but Brazil had too much class and quality for England, who could not overcome the absence of so many high-profile stars. Brazil always held the upper hand, and even though this journey to Doha ended with a loss, England and Capello will benefit from being tested against many of the Brazil players who will pose a threat to their World Cup ambitions in South Africa next year.
Capello's heavily disrupted plans were subjected to even further alteration late on when Michael Carrick suffered an ankle injury – allowing Jermaine Jenas to make a rare England start. And while England's attacking forays were rare in the first 45 minutes, there was enough resilience and organisation on display to give Capello encouragement.
The FA yesterday reacted angrily to a report in The Daily Telegraph that England had threatened to pull out of the friendly. The newspaper had claimed that England were angry at being refused permission to land at a special terminal at Doha International Airport reserved for the Interior Minister. An FA spokesman said: "At no point has anyone in the organisation threatened to withdraw from this fixture over travel arrangements. We were perfectly satisfied with the plans put in place upon arrival and did not ask to use the ministerial terminal."Reuse content