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England Draw in Dramatically Delayed Match

10 June 2014 World Cup Reporter Tom Blackburn reports on a 40 minute delay and a draw in Miami.

England drew 0-0 with Honduras in a dull match that saw a surprise 40 minute delay mid-way through the first half due to an electrical storm at the Sun Life Stadium, Miami.

England struggled to convert the few chances they created in their last game before the World Cup gets underway in Brazil, and will be disappointed with their performance.

Referee Ricardo Salazar removed both teams from the field in the 20th minute, as the weather was deemed dangerous by forecasters and officials. The decision was seemingly ratified by England manager Roy Hodgson, who offered a nod of approval as the officials left the field and later commented: “We can only accept and appreciate the referee's decision because he is concerned about the safety of the players.

“It's a surprise that play has been suspended, it's not something we come across much in Europe.”

Prior to the interval, England had one excellent chance that Daniel Sturridge failed to convert. Sturridge was given the opportunity following a powerful run by Wayne Rooney and a smart step-over by Danny Welbeck who fed the ball to the Liverpool striker whose shot on the turn went over the bar. 

The friendly wasn’t without worrying moments for Hodgson, who watched on powerlessly as the South American team jumped into tackles. Honduras had two bookings in side 31 minutes, the second of which was for Emilio Izaguirre after he took down Sturridge before blasting the ball into the Liverpool striker whilst he was on the floor. Then, in the 65th minute Honduran full-back Brayan Beckeles was shown a second yellow card for a dangerous challenge in the air on Leighton Baines.
Despite many heavy Honduran challenges throughout the match, England avoided any injuries. Hodgson was able to use the majority of his starting options for next week’s world cup opener against Italy, with the exception of Raheem Sterling who was serving a one-match ban following his red-card against Ecuador.
England had another great chance in the 73rd minute, which again fell to Sturridge who will be frustrated by his weak effort. Following positive work in the middle of the field the ball was spread to Glen Johnson on the edge of the Honduran box, the Liverpool right-back planted a perfectly weighted cross into the path of Sturridge however his club team-mate’s header didn’t trouble the keeper.

England were solid at the back throughout the match, and will probably name the same the starting back five (Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines) for the majority of the tournament, injuries permitting!

Despite a few positives, such as the team’s ability to cope for 90 minutes in difficult conditions, England will be not be satisfied with their overall performance. Hodgson will be keen to see improvements in how they break down a defensive team, as it may be a similar test to the one they face on the 24th June against Costa Rica.

With the whole squad’s eyes now set on the 14th June and a date with a struggling Italian side, the entire nation hopes this will be the year that our football team does us proud on the main stage.

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