Sunday, 8 June 2014

Honduras 0 England 0 - Review and Analysis:

 England played against Honduras on Saturday, their final warm-up match before the World Cup
Hello again everyone, and welcome to my latest blog post. Today, I have a review plus analysis from Saturday night's international friendly, between Honduras and England. Enjoy:

This was the final warm-up match before the official start of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil begins next week, as The Three Lions played against a solid outfit in the form of South American side Honduras at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami. 

Roy Hodgson picked a strong starting line-up for the game, with the likes of Gerrard, Lallana, Rooney and Sturridge all playing, as well as an established back-four.

This was the final test to see whether England were ready or not for the trip to Brazil for this month's international tournament - where they are expected to do well, especially with a young and exciting side up and coming in the ranks.

Here were the team line-ups for the match (players in brackets signal substitutions):

England: Hart (Forster 75'), Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines, Gerrard (Barkley 45'), Henderson (Lampard 83'), Lallana, Sturridge, Rooney (Wilshere 45') and Welbeck (Lambert 79').

Subs not used: Foster, Smalling, Jones, Milner, Stones, Flanagan, Shaw and Sterling.

Honduras: Valladares, Beckeles, Figueroa, Bernardez, Izaguirre (Mario Martinez 90'), Espinoza (Juan Garcia 86'), Palacios, Garrido (Claros 45'), Chavez (Najar 61'), Costly (Delgado 69') and Bengtson (Jerry Palacios 75').

Subs not used: Lopez, Osman Chavez, Montes, Oscar Garcia, Rony Martinez and Escober. 

Match Review and Analysis: 

Both sides started the match off well, with England pressing a high line in the first few minutes. However, Honduras were solid at the back and did not make too many mistakes in the first 20 minutes. 

Strangely, the match was called off after 21 minutes, as the referee temporarily stopped play due to lightning and a threat of a tropical storm brewing. Unlucky for England as they had the momentum going in their favour at the time.

Strange: The match was temporarily stopped for 30 minutes due to lightning set to hit
Halted: The referee discussed with the officials, before making the decision to stop the game
After a 40 minute delay for the match to get back underway, both sides were sluggish to get into the rhythm of the game again. However, England continued to press up the pitch with some nice inter-play between Sturridge and Henderson on the flank - but Honduras were quick to clear the danger.

Palacios had a shot from 20 yards out deflected wide in the dying minutes of the 1st half, after Lallana saw his effort spin past the post. The Honduras goalkeeper looked shaky at certain points during the game, but England failed to take advantage of the situation and it ended 0-0 at half-time.


After two substitutions were made by Hodgson at the break (Rooney and Gerrard being replaced by Barkley and Wilshere), it was clear to see that the team started to improve. The ball was being moved about between, quickly with a purpose to push men forward and press Honduras for an opener.

Good ball control and attacking intent from the two subs, who came on and brought the team to life - rarely giving the ball away in the midfield. 

After some late challenges and needless cards being given, Honduras were down to ten men in the 65th minute after defender Brayan Beckeles was given a second yellow card after swinging an arm at Leighton Baines. 

It was England's chance to take advantage of the extra man, and attack their weak opposition - who had to adapt for the rest of the match with a centre-back down.

Joe Hart was taken off (probably for rest) in the 74th minute and replaced by Fraser Forster, presumably to give him some game time.

Despite having the player advantage, England struggled to break the Honduras defence down - raising questions as to whether they could perform better against stronger teams in their World Cup group; Italy and Uruguay. 

Rooney was poor and consequently replaced at half-time for Barkley, who played much better in midfield and did well to retain the ball with attacking intent. 

You can argue that it would be harsh to compare England's performance in a friendly to what they could deliver in the World Cup proper, with less than a week to go you would not exactly expect them to go flat-out for a win, especially as the risk of injuries are high. 

Real shame: Reus has been ruled out of the World Cup, after a bad ankle injury on Friday night
But, having said that you have to take into consideration that they were playing against a Honduras team. If you fail to beat a 10-man Honduras side, how do you expect to beat the world champions and win a World Cup?

Finally here: England landed in Brazil on Sunday morning, ahead of their World Cup campaign
The squad has promise to go far in the future, but the reliance on experienced players such as Rooney is too high. Frankly, if Rooney is not playing well, he should not start.

Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sterling are all capable of doing the job for their country, as they do so well for their club. But unfortunately, it's not that simple. 

World Cup 2014 in Brazil begins in just 5 days!

I will have LIVE Coverage, commentaries, reaction, analysis and reviews from all of the matches during the world's biggest tournament - which has the potential to be one of the best yet... Cannot wait!

Have a nice week, speak to you all later.

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