England and Brazil play out stalemate at Wembley

From ESPN - November 14, 2017

England stifled superior opponents for the second time in under a week as Brazil followed Germany in settling for a Wembley stalemate.

Gareth Southgate's long-term mission is to win hearts and minds, if not World Cups, with his fresh-faced Three Lions.

And if two 0-0 draws in five days represents a slow start then it might easily have been worse given the calibre of the opposition.

Brazil arrived at full strength and with a formidable run of form behind them. But while they dominated possession, their vaunted front three of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus laboured without reward.

Liverpool's Dominic Solanke had a late chance to end England's 2017 calendar with a stunning debut winner, and it was also a night on which Joe Hart, Joe Gomez and Kyle Walker earned plenty of credit for keeping a clean sheet under pressure.

Gomez was named man of the match for his composed performance at the back, the third rookie in as many games after Harry Winks and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to elbow his way into Southgate's plans for Russia 2018.

Brazil dominated the ball throughout the first half, rolling it across the field and probing for gaps without ever fully asserting themselves on England.

Neymar's first half-dozen touches whipped the crowd into a fervour but the electricity waned a little as it became apparent each contribution would not be a magical one.

There were flashes of brilliance from the world's most expensive player, nutmegging Jake Livermore almost as an after-thought and piercing the defence with an outside-of-the-boot chip that lost none of its charm when its recipient, Jesus, was flagged offside.

But there were also a couple of wayward punts into the stand and an occasional wander into dead ends.

Walker and Gomez were charged with keeping the Paris St Germain star in check, a job made all the harder by Marcelo's constant menace on the left.


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