England held Brazil to a goalless draw
By talkSPORT – @talkSPORT
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
England manager Gareth Southgate revealed his pride in the defensive steel that consigned Germany and Brazil to successive Wembley shutouts.
Having kept the world champions to a 0-0 draw on Friday night, a youthful Three Lions side again proved their mettle, repeating the trick against the attacking brilliance of Neymar and company.
England 0-0 Brazil: Three Lions hold out Neymar and company – REPORT
The Football Association’s marketing team were probably not envisaging 180 minutes of goalless football when they unveiled the top two sides in the world as England’s final opponents of 2017, but Southgate was left invigorated by the experience.
As a former centre-half he appreciates the work that went into both results and comes away convinced that the foundations of his side are sturdy enough to cope with all comers at next year’s World Cup.
“The resilience collectively and individually was absolutely outstanding,” he said.
“They’re not going to face more difficult tests than they’ve had in the two matches we’ve just had. We had the best defensive record in Europe in qualifying and we’ve played the best two teams in the world and not conceded.
“In terms of heart, resilience and spirit it was up there with anything I have been involved in.
“I was probably more proud than I was against Germany because we played, I think, the best team in the world, with their full team out, and came out with a really creditable result.”
Liverpool’s Joe Gomez followed in the recent footsteps of Harry Winks and Ruben Loftus-Cheek by claiming the man-of-the-match award on his full debut, just reward for a performance of calm authority.
He is now among a handful of players who have gone from rookie recruits to genuine contenders for Russia 2018 in the space of a transformative international break.
“I thought they were all excellent but Joe was named man of the match and rightly so,” Southgate said.
“I think his decision-making was outstanding. We know his athleticism is a real asset but to see his calmness in the face of such high-quality movement, dealing with through passes he had to read… superb.
“Joe has been one of the best young players in our system for a long time. It gives me plenty to think about.”
Brazil boss Tite offered a respectful nod to England’s tactical discipline.
He has seen his side routinely dominate since taking the reins from Dunga, qualifying from the tricky South American pool amid an avalanche of goals.
But this time he was unable to find a way through.
“They were like ice, really cold, they never lost their minds,” Tite said.
“We have scored many goals this year but not today because England played really well, blocking our offence. They were trying to close out the space and they had a lot of mental power.”