An­other top side tamed by young Lions

The Chronicle - - Mickquinn -

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

Gareth South­gate’s long-term mis­sion is to win hearts and minds, if not World Cups, with his fresh­faced 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 the likes of 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 Lof­tusCheek 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 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 re­cip­i­ent Je­sus was flagged off­side.

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

Lof­tus-Cheek was at­tempt­ing to dou­ble down on his name-mak­ing de­but against Ger­many but lasted lit­tle more than half an hour thanks to an early knock.

Mar­cus Rash­ford re­mained Eng­land’s like­li­est game-changer, but de­spite late chances for both sides, Joe Hart’s clean sheet never looked in any se­ri­ous dan­ger.

John Stones beats Dani Alves in the air

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