England claim draw against Brazil

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England and Brazil played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the newly re-opened Maracana stadium in Rio De Janerio. 

A 0-0 first half was tough on the Samba stars, with Luis Felipe Scolari's men much the better side. This was reflected by England goalkeeper Joe Hart having the most touches in the England team, with the Manchester City man making a string of strong saves. 

Zenit St Petersberg striker Hulk had gone closest for Brazil, stroking the ball wide after some good wing play. 

The three-man England midfield were giving away possession far too easily, both under pressure and not. Experienced internationals Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick were the main culprits, making Brazil's job all the more easier in the first half. 

Neither the tavelling England fans nor manager Roy Hodgson would have been happy with the lacklustre first half performance, and the Three Lions were lucky to go into the break at 0-0.

Brazil took a deserved lead just before the hour mark, Fluminese striker Fred putting the ball past Hart after Lazio midfielder Hernanes saw his strike fly back of the crossbar. 

But it was substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who, against the run of play, bought the game level in the 67th minute. The Arsenal midfielder picked up the ball from a  Wayne Rooney pass and fired past QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar at his near post. 

England were lucky to find themselves on level-terms, but with the new found pace of Oxlade-Chamberlain beginning to have an effect, England took the lead- silencing the Brazilian crowd. 

It was in the 80th minute when James Milner broke forward and passed it inside to wantaway Manchester United striker Rooney, who let-rip with a fantastic 30 yard strike that flew past Cesar. The strained first half performance seemed like a distant memory, with Hodgson's men looking a shadow of their former selves. 

But the lead lasted only two minutes. Brazil broke down the right-hand side and the ball came to an unmarked Paulinho, who produced a tumbling volley that Hart could do little about. Brazil would have felt aggrieved had they come away from the game with nothing and Paulinho's strike was no more than the hosts deserved. 

That was how the game finished, England overcoming their initial nerves and coming very close to taking the victory. Brazil will look at the 2-2 result and look at some poor finishing as the reason behind the shut-out. 

The game had a genuine "exhibition" feel, with the result not really helping either team with their World Cup plans. But it was an entertaining game that ultimately finished 2-2 in Rio De Janeiro.

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Michael Carrick
Phil Jones
Leighton Baines
Phil Jagielka
Gary Cahill
Joe Hart
James Milner
Mike England
Wayne Rooney
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Glen Johnson
Theo Walcott

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