Belfast Telegraph

England captain Steven Gerrard hits out at Honduras for reckless attitude

By Paul Hirst

Steven Gerrard accused 10-man Honduras of "stupid" and "horrific" tackling during England's goalless stalemate in Miami.

England's battered and bruised players headed for Brazil after the match having somehow escaped their World Cup send-off without serious injury.

The two teams had to come off the pitch for 43 minutes in the first half due to a thunderstorm and the game became spicy when play resumed.

Referee Ricardo Salazar handed Honduras five yellow cards, including two for Brayan Beckeles, who was sent off in the 66th minute after a flying elbow on Leighton Baines.

Gerrard, Adam Lallana, Danny Welbeck, Baines and Glen Johnson were all victims of reckless fouls, although England dished out a few tasty tackles of their own after becoming annoyed by their opponents' physicality.

Gerrard was far from happy with the tackles and said it was a huge stroke of luck that no player suffered an injury.

"I thought there were some horrific tackles for a friendly. I got caught with a bad one," said the England captain.

"I'm quite frustrated. I thought the referee was poor, the game was interrupted, there was a big tackle in the first half and they were making stupid fouls. There was no rhythm, we're frustrated but relieved at having no injuries."

The worst offender on the night was Celtic defender Emilio Izaguirre, who was lucky to stay on the pitch after blasting the ball at Daniel Sturridge while he lay on the floor.

"I don't understand referees not punishing balls slammed into players' chests, it's a clear red card," said Gerrard, unaware that the ball had actually struck Sturridge right in the groin.

"We're frustrated, but we got a clean sheet and no injuries."

England looked good on the attack and vulnerable at the back in the 2-2 draw against Ecuador on Wednesday and it was the same story again on Saturday night.

Ross Barkley shone again, as did Wayne Rooney and Jordan Henderson, while there was also a strong showing from Welbeck, who often divides opinion.

At the back Glen Johnson struggled to deal with Honduras' pace.

And Sturridge should have put a couple of very good chances away in the second half.

Belfast Telegraph


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