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Fresh-faced Three Lions hold Brazil to stalemate

England 0 Brazil 0

By Rory Dollard

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

Gareth Southgate's long-term mission is to win hearts and minds, if not World Cups, with his fresh-faced 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 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 in which the likes of Joe Hart, Joe Gomez and Kyle Walker earned plenty of credit for keeping a clean sheet.

Gomez was named man of the match for his composed performance at the back.

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 a little 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 its recipient, Jesus, was flagged offside.

England were forced deep for the most part but invited pressure with their admirable insistence on playing from the back. Southgate has counselled them to do so but there were times when an old-fashioned long ball might have bought some much-needed territory.

Neither goalkeeper was over-worked, Hart keeping out a Jesus header and Alisson fully behind a Marcus Rashford drive. Brazil nudged the accelerator at the start of the second half, Neymar and Jesus carving a chance for Coutinho, whose shot was closed down well by Hart.

As the game entered its final 15 minutes a winner suddenly appeared imminent.

First Fernandinho burst forward from midfield and sent a searing drive just wide, then Dier bent an inviting free-kick around wall and post.

Hart made an important stop in the 84th minute, standing tall at his near post and taking Paulinho's hard-hit effort in the chest. With seconds remaining, the prospect of a home win fleetingly reared its head.

Young bent a teasing cross to the far post and when the ball broke to substitute Solanke he could not quite muster a finish from close range.

• Chris Coleman marked what could be his final game as Wales manager with a 1-1 draw against World Cup finalists Panama.

Tom Lawrence's 75th-minute wonderful solo strike - his second Wales goal - looked like settling the friendly in Cardiff but Armando Cooper struck for the visitors in injury time.

England: Hart, Walker, Gomez, Stones, Maguire, Bertrand (Young 80), Loftus-Cheek (Lingard 35), Dier, Livermore (Rose 90), Vardy (Solanke 75), Rashford (Abraham 75).

Subs: Pickford, Trippier, Rose, Cahill, Keane, Cork, Young, Cook, Lingard, Abraham, Solanke, Gunn.

Brazil: Alisson, Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda, Marcelo, Casemiro, Paulinho, Renato Augusto (Fernandinho 68), Coutinho (Willian 68), Jesus (Firminio 76), Neymar.

Subs: Ederson, Jemerson, Alex Sandro, Douglas Costa, Thiago Silva, Fernandinho, Giuliano, Willian, Diego, Firmino, Danilo, Taison, Diego Souza, Cassio.

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