International Friendly: Brazil 2 England 2
By Football News
A late goal from Paulhinho salvaged a 2-2 draw for Brazil in an entertaining friendly with England in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
Brazil dominated the first half, but were kept at bay by England keeper Joe Hart. Luiz Felipe Scolari's men took the lead through Fred early in the second half, but then fell behind as England rallied, with goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wayne Rooney putting them in front.
However, Paulinho intervened eight minutes from the end to stop the visitors from becoming the first side to beat Brazil on home soil since Bobby Robson's England achieved the feat in 1984.
Brazil dictated the game early on but did not create the first chance until the 17th minute when Barcelona full-back Dani Alves hit a long-range drive which swerved wide of the far post. That opportunity seemed to further Brazil's confidence and only Hart prevented them from taking the lead, denying Neymar from point-blank range after the attacker showed great touch to control an arrowed long pass from Alves before cutting inside Glen Johnson.
The 21-year-old was at the heart of the majority of the hosts' forays forward, curling another strike over from range before sliding a delicate pass in for Hulk, who was denied by Hart as the Manchester City man continued to stand firm.
Hart was undoubtedly England's best player in the first half and he was called into action again, diving to his left to keep out an Oscar strike from the edge of the area.
The visitors were dealt a blow just after the half-hour mark when Leighton Baines limped from the field of play to be replaced by Cole.
Cole's introduction made it 103 caps for the Chelsea man, but he could not help stem the tide of Brazil chances, Hulk again going close after 36 minutes, with his near-post flick just trickling past the post.
England did eventually find a foothold in the game and tested Brazil stopper Julio Cesar for the first time on 40 minutes, Theo Walcott seeing his close-range effort well saved after good work from Johnson.
Scolari made two changes at the break, Marcelo and Hernanes replacing Filipe Luiz and Luis Gustavo.
The stalemate would not last long into the second period, Hernanes playing a key role as Fred finally broke the deadlock after 57 minutes. The Fluminense man volleyed in a rebound after a curling effort from the Lazio midfielder crashed against the crossbar.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was thrown into the fray shortly after Brazil seized the advantage, coming on in place of Johnson, and the change had the desired impact as the Arsenal man met a knock-down from Wayne Rooney with a fierce 20-yard drive that flew past Cesar and into the bottom corner.
Hodgson's men continued to show enterprise and they were rewarded again 12 minutes from time, Rooney giving them the lead with a wonderful solo goal. The Manchester United man picked the ball up just inside the Brazil half before surging forward and curling an excellent shot into the top corner.
England's advantage lasted a little over three minutes however, as Paulinho provided the response with a brilliant volley from the edge of the area after a clever pull back from Lucas Moura.
That proved to be the last meaningful action of the game, as England held off a final charge from Brazil to claim a deserved draw.