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Page last updated at 19:02 GMT, Saturday, 14 November 2009

Brazil 1-0 England

By Phil McNulty

Wayne Rooney
England captain Wayne Rooney shows his frustration against Brazil

Nilmar's header early in the second half condemned Fabio Capello's reshaped England side to defeat against Brazil in Qatar.

England battled hard against a superior Brazil, but Nilmar headed Elano's pass beyond Ben Foster after 47 minutes.

Brazil's victory margin could have been greater, but Luis Fabiano missed a penalty after Foster fouled Nilmar.

Lucio also struck the post, while James Milner volleyed England's best chance over the top in the second half.

Capello will have been happy with how his under-strength side stuck to their task in searing heat, but Brazil had too much class and quality for England, who could not overcome the absence of so many high-profile stars.

Brazil always held the upper hand, and even though this journey to Doha ended with a loss, England and Capello will benefit from being tested against many of the Brazil players who will pose a threat to their World Cup ambitions in South Africa next summer.

PHIL McNULTY'S BLOG

Capello's heavily-disrupted plans were subjected to even further alteration late on when Michael Carrick suffered an ankle injury - allowing Jermaine Jenas to make a rare England start.

And while England's attacking forays were rare in the first 45 minutes, there was enough resilience and organisation on display to give Capello encouragement.

Indeed England posed the first threat after only two minutes when a cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips flashed just out of the reach of England's captain for the night Wayne Rooney.

Lyon's Michel Bastos was pressed into emergency service at left-back for Brazil following an injury to Liverpool's Fabio Aurelio, and he demonstrated his attacking prowess with a low, angled drive that beat Foster but flew inches wide.

Darren Bent was struggling to make an impact as he attempted to convince Capello of his worth, not helped by a lack of service that rendered his task almost impossible. He had one opportunity, but could not direct a header on target from Milner's cross.

Foster was then in action again, clutching a curling effort from Kaka as Brazil exerted their authority on proceedings.

England would have been happy to reach half-time on level terms, but they were undone by a trademark piece of Brazilian creativity within two minutes of the restart.

Former Manchester City midfield man Elano split Wes Brown and Matthew Upson with a glorious pass and Nilmar arrived to direct a header beyond Foster.

Brazil had taken total control in the second half - and Bent's tough night ended after 54 minutes when he was replaced by Jermain Defoe.

England should have fallen further behind a minute later when Brown's attempt to chest the ball back to Foster only let in Nilmar, who was hauled to the ground by Foster as he went around the England keeper.

Capello's side were handed a double reprieve as local referee Abdullah Abdou firstly declined to send Foster off, a surprising decision, and then Luis Fabiano lashed the resulting penalty yards over the bar.

England had barely been seen as an attacking force in the game, but almost grabbed an unlikely equaliser after 68 minutes when another raking ball from Wright-Phillips found Milner at the far post, but he steered a volley over the top.

Brown made amends for his earlier error with 14 minutes left by crucially blocking Nilmar's header after Brazil caught England on the break.

And England enjoyed more good fortune a minute later when defender Lucio advanced from the back and crashed a rising 25-yard drive against the post with Foster well beaten.

Rooney then tested Brazil keeper Julio Cesar for almost the first time with a low shot that was comfortably collected.

England attempted a late surge, but in reality Brazil were hardly ever disturbed and closed out with ease for a deserved victory.


Brazil: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Thiago Silva, Michel Bastos, Felipe Melo, Silva, Elano, Kaka, Nilmar, Luis Fabiano. Subs: Doni, Lucas, Dani Alves, Aurelio, Alex, Luisao, Josue, Carlos Eduardo, Naldo, Hulk, Julio Baptista.

England: Foster, Brown, Upson, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Jenas, Milner, Rooney, Bent. Subs: Green, Cahill, Warnock, Huddlestone, Crouch, Defoe, Young, Hart.

Referee: Abdullah Abdou (Qatar)



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see also
Saturday football as it happened
14 Nov 09 |  Football
Capello eyes positives after loss
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Saturday football photos
14 Nov 09 |  Football
Bent backed for World Cup place
13 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Lampard faces three-week lay-off
13 Nov 09 |  Chelsea
Young retires from England scene
11 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Capello warns injury-hit players
07 Nov 09 |  Internationals


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