England claim Maracana draw

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:18

England claim Maracana draw

The Arsenal youngster, whose father Mark featured in the iconic stadium 29 years ago when John Barnes scored one of the finest goals in England’s history to secure a 2-0 victory, stepped off the bench to fire home a superb equaliser before Rooney found the top corner 11 minutes from time.
Despite being outclassed for the entire first half, England were on the brink of a memorable victory, only for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men to have the final say through Paulinho’s volleyed leveller in the 82nd minute.
Sunday night’s meeting with the 2014 World Cup hosts demonstrated at times how much work there is to do for England before next summer’s tournament, with only Joe Hart’s first-half heroics keeping the game goalless until Fred finally struck in the 57th minute.
England were under the cosh from the off, with Hart’s first sprawling save coming in the 18th minute when Glen Johnson misjudged a deep cross-field ball, presenting Neymar with a good chance to break the deadlock.
As the half-hour approached, Barcelona’s latest signing played in Hulk with a deft pass only for Hart to deny the powerful striker before getting to the ball twice ahead of Filipe Luis as he looked to make the most of the rebounds.
Oscar then stepped away from a struggling Leighton Baines to warm Hart’s palms with a stinging drive with Ashley Cole coming on for his injured England colleague soon after, the first of his 103 caps which have not been as a starter.
Hulk was inches away from beating Hart with a sublime flick from Oscar’s teasing cross from the right, before England finally created a chance of note with Theo Walcott denied by Julio Cesar following a good ball by Johnson.
Scolari’s decision to replace Oscar with Lucas Moura early in the second half was met with a chorus of disapproval from the packed Maracana stands, but their anger was forgotten moments later as Brazil finally broke the deadlock with Fred first to react after substitute Hernanes curled his shot over the diving Hart but against the face of the cross bar.
England were finally stung into action and had two chances in quick succession as James Milner’s powerful drive was deflected narrowly wide of Cesar’s goal and Rooney headed the resulting corner off target from a promising position.
And they were back on terms moments later as Frank Lampard and Rooney combined to tee-up substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain with the Arsenal youngster shaping a sublime low volley across the Maracana turf and into the bottom corner of the net.
Rooney then embarked on a driving run towards the box with his powerful curling shot taking a slight deflection off Fernando to leave Cesar helpless, but the celebrations from Roy Hodgson and his coaching staff were cut short as Paulinho showed great athleticism to volley beyond Hart as the home side claimed a deserved draw.

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