• Sunday Jun 08, 2014

    10-man Honduras plays England to scoreless draw

    Action from the pre-World Cup friendly between Honduras (blue jersey) and England on June 7, 2014, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

    MIAMI GARDENS, Florida – In the final friendly match for each prior to the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Honduras and England battled to a 0-0 draw on Saturday before a crowd of 45,379 at a rain-soaked Sun Life Stadium 

    The tune-up match was anything but routine.  Inclement weather forced a temporary suspension of play in the first half and Honduran defender Brayan Beckeles was shown a second yellow card for elbowing Leighton Baines, reducing the Catrachos to just 10 men for the encounter’s final 25 minutes. 

    It was England who threatened first, when Danny Welbeck tested veteran Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares with a hard-hit shot in the fourth minute. Undeterred, the Central Americans responded swiftly, but San Jose Earthquakes defender Víctor Bernardez fired a volley over the bar from close range. 

    The best chance for either team came in the 21st minute.  A clever dummy from Welbeck allowed striker Daniel Sturridge to go one-on-one against Valladares.  Despite the goalmouth gaping, the Liverpool man scuffed his shot just wide of the target. 

    As severe weather approached and lightning visible in the distance, match officials quickly decided to suspend play midway through the first half. 

    The unanticipated break failed to reenergize either team after the resumption of play 30 minutes later.  Only a Marvin Chavez free kick that sailed over the England crossbar in the 33rd minute looked capable of producing the opener. 

    Coming out of the break, England looked to assert control immediately.  Just a minute in, good combination play with Jack Wilshere put Ross Barkley in a position to score.  The Everton midfielder, however, curled his shot wide of the far post.

    Operating on the front foot, England seemed likely to take the lead, creating solid scoring opportunities.  Sturridge unsuccessfully tried to chip Valladares in the 53rd minute.  Moments later, Barkley looked to have to have clear path to goal, a well-timed challenge from Celtic defender Emilio Izaguirre, though, preserved the stalemate 

    Honduras’ best effort of the second half came in the 61st minute through Bernardez, who rifled a powerful free-kick from distance just wide of Joe Hart’s goal.

    Four minutes later, the Hondurans were down to 10 men as Beckeles was shown his second yellow card following a midair collision with Baines. 

    Playing with all 10 men behind the ball, the compact Honduran defense held strong as the Three Lions’ possession advantage did not result in goal 

    Sturridge probably should done better with a pinpoint Glen Johnson cross, ultimately heading high in the 72nd minute. 

    It was as close as either team would get the rest of the way. 

    Both squads will now turn their gaze towards Brazil, where Honduras is set to begin tournament play against 1998 World Cup champion France on June 15 in Porto Alegre.  England faces Italy in its opener a day earlier in Manaus.

     

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