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Southgate proud as youthful England shut out Brazil

City A.M. Wednesday, 15 November 2017 ()
Southgate proud as youthful England shut out Brazil*England 0, Brazil 0*

Proud Gareth Southgate hailed his experimental England team after they produced a disciplined and tenacious display to hold Brazil at Wembley.

Young Liverpool defender Joe Gomez shackled £200m star Neymar on his first international start, while John Stones and Eric Dier shone as relative elders in a side shore of several senior stars.

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho went closest to winning the match for Brazil when he hit the post in the second half, while England debutant Dominic Solanke almost snatched a home win at the death.

“They had control of the game, there’s no question about that, they were the more dangerous team, but we limited them to very few clear cut chances. It’d probably have been a injustice but we could’ve pinched the game,” said Southgate, whose youthful side also drew 0-0 with Germany last week.

“On Friday we used the ball really well and tonight we looked anxious with the ball. But tonight the defensive performance, resilience and spirit collectively and some of the individual defensive performances were absolutely outstanding.

“So tonight I’m probably more proud because we’ve played, I think, the best team in the world with their full team out. They pose you all sorts of different problems that individually you’ve got to stand up to and we’ve come out with a really creditable result.”

Southgate will draw encouragement from an England defensive display of rare discipline. Three days after shutting out world champions Germany, they restricted free-scoring Brazil almost entirely to shots from distance.

It has come at a cost, however: the hosts rarely tested either of their high-profile visitors to Wembley and have now scored just one goal from open play in the last six hours of international football.

Brazil began on the front foot and the recalled Joe Hart had to react smartly to save Gabriel Jesus’s improvised header from a driven Dani Alves cross-shot. Moments later, Stones booked clear just as Neymar was about to breach the back five and burst through on a Hart.

England mustered a rare attack just after the half-hour mark, when captain Dier bulldozed through a 50-50 challenge and showed composure before releasing Ryan Bertrand to cross. Jamie Vardy nodded down for Marcus Rashford but he was crowded out.

Substitute Fernandinho almost made an instant impact when he drove into space and tried his luck with a daisy-cutter that clipped the outside of Hart’s post. Paulinho found space in the penalty area with five minutes left but the England goalkeeper blocked the resulting piledriver with his chest.

There was still time for England to almost snatch the win. Ashley Young, moments after making a vital block to deny Willian, swung in a cross that landed to fellow substitute Solanke, but the debutant could not readjust his feet and Brazil keeper Alisson smothered.
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England boss Gareth Southgate believes his side proved they have the defensive mettle to challenge the best in the world after keeping Brazil's attacking brilliance at bay. Having held world champions Germany to a 0-0 draw at Wembley on Friday night, the Three Lions repeated the trick against the...

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