International friendly, Wembley Stadium – England 0 Brazil 0
England’s 2017 ultimately ended with two 0-0s against the world’s top two as they held Brazil just four days after shutting out Germany.
An uninspiring affair against Brazil will have made for pleasant viewing for England head coach Gareth Southgate, who watched his side quell the visiting trio of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho.
Brazil had a couple of chances, namely Coutinho’s low effort in the second half which was saved well by Joe Hart, but they hardly looked like the side who took 12 wins and lost just once in the South America qualifiers.
Southgate will undoubtedly draw the positives from Tuesday’s draw, but there will be concern over the lack of attacking threat.
March friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy will allow Southgate to address those issues, but for now it’s time to celebrate the mundanity that is holding Brazil to a 0-0 draw.
England’s solidity in defence. When you see Neymar, Jesus and Coutinho in the opposition’s line-up, you do not expect a quiet night. England’s back three of John Stones, Harry Maguire and Joe Gomez proved they could stem the attacking flair of their opponents. It wasn’t pretty viewing, but you would take a 0-0 if it were the World Cup finals, even if that does mean penalties…
MAN OF THE MATCH
Joe Gomez (England): What a full debut for the Liverpool defender, who started at centre-back alongside John Stones and Harry Maguire. His reading of the game was brilliant, and he put in a number of vital interceptions to keep Brazil at bay. Southgate warned his Young Lions not to go souvenir hunting when facing Neymar and co, but Gomez rarely looked fazed. He may have to check his back pocket tomorrow morning to make sure the £198m man isn't still in there.
13’ - SAVE! It looks like Alves is lining up to shoot once more from out wide, but the fizzed ball in finds the head of Jesus, but Hart dives to his left to save the attempt.
47’ - SAVE! Closest we've come to a goal at Wembley! And it's Coutinho who almost sneaks in an opener for the visitors, but his low strike is saved well by Hart.
77’ - OFF THE POST! Dier loses the ball in the middle of the park, and it's Fernandinho who storms down the pitch before unleashing a fierce low strike, but it clips the outside of the post.
85’ - SAVE! Flowing Brazil move and it's a terrific touch from Paulinho to carry it into the area, but Hart stands tall and sees the Barcelona midfielder's effort cannon off his chest and out for a corner...
England: Hart 7, Walker 7, Maguire 7, Stones 8, Gomez 8, Bertrand 6, Livermore 7, Dier 7, Loftus-Cheek 6, Vardy 6, Rashford 7. Subs: Lingard 6, Solanke 6, Abraham 6, Young N/A, Rose N/A
Brazil: Allison 6, Alves 6, Marquinhos 6, Miranda 7, Marcelo 7, Casemiro 7, Paulinho 7, Renato Augusto 6, Coutinho 6, Jesus 6, Neymar 7. Subs: Fernandinho 7, Willian 6, Firmino 6
England claimed back-to-back goalless draws for the first time since 1995.