England block out Brazil
Written By: Robert Halter
It was the twenty sixth meeting between England and Brazil as Wembley stadium hosted the Three Lions last international of 2017. In the fourth minute, Neymar put the ball across to Brazilan captain, Dani Alves, who thrashed his strike wide with a wayward shot. On eleven minutes from a Marcelo back heel, a miss hit effort by Neymar ballooned high over the top. A minute later, a poor ball out by England shot stopper, Joe Hart, was lost in possession from Ryan Bertrand, and as Alves put the delivery in, a sharp header from Gabriel Jesus was snatched upon by Hart, at his near right post. In the eighteenth minute, Harry Maguire found Marcus Rashford in a yard of space, but his low strike lacked any real pace to trouble Alisson. In the next sixty seconds, from a sideways pass by Jesus, there to pounce was Paulinho, who hit a well struck ball over the upright. Midway through the first half, Alves combined with Neymar, whose over the top delivery put through Jesus, but Hart restricted the angle, which forced Jesus into the outside netting of the right post, before the flag was raised. On twenty eight minutes, from another Marcelo pass, again a strike from Neymar, went high and wide. England were forced to make a change as Ruben Loftus-Cheek was unable to continue and Jesse Lingard took over and on thirty five minutes, an injection of pace by Lingard resulted in a foul on him by Renato Augusto, but from a Rashford free kick, an infringement by John Stones on Alves, saw the flag being raised, after a tame header from Three Lions captain, Eric Dier. Before half time, from a cross by Marcelo, the ball spun off Paulinho’s head and out of play. Two minutes into the second half, from an incisive pass by Neymar, as Jesus advanced through, he was kept out by the knee of Hart, who made an important stop. There was a flash point as Jake Livermore collided with Alves, who he then grabbed around the neck, before they were both separated. After Rashford was brought down from Casemiro, his free kick was pulled up for an infringement by Harry Maguire on Miranda. The first booking went to Livermore for a rash challenge on Neymar, which soon followed with Alves getting a yellow card for hacking down Bertrand. There was concern for Brazil as Jesus collided with the knee of Kyle Walker, before play resumed. Then from a delivery in by Neymar, the ball was headed back by Stones, before Hart cleared the danger under the threat of Jesus in the sixty fourth minute. Brazil soon changed Willian for Philippe Coutinho and Fernandinho for Augusto. England then pressed forward from a threaded pass by Rashford and a left wing cross from Bertrand, that was clasped upon by Alisson, with Jamie Vardy threatening in the area. England later switched Vardy with Dominic Solanke and also Rashford with Tammy Abraham while Brazil took off Jesus for Firmino. But on seventy six minutes, after Casemiro won the ball off Dier, a driving run forward by Fernandinho, ended with him unleashing a low strike which clipped the bottom of the left post. Following Solanke being barged by Casemiro, a free kick by Dier, bent past the right post, in the seventy ninth minute. The Three Lions then took off Bertrand for Ashley Young, and he immediately made a vital interception to stop Willian in his tracks on goal, from Neymar’s through ball. In the eighty fifth minute, Marcelo supplied Neymar, whose ball out to the right was struck by Paulinho, but Hart made a block at his near right post, and from Willian’s resulting corner, a header by Paulinho was skied over. Near the end, from a Young cross, the ball was won in the air by Abraham, and at close range, Solanke shot straight into Alisson. After Danny Rose took over from Livermore, England had a close shave, after Neymar dispossessed Lingard, and after racing clear, hit a left footed shot right of the target. The last say was with England, after Solanke won the ball off Marcelo, and from a Walker cross it was just too far over for Abraham to convert as England and Brazil stayed goalless.