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Gerrard fury at 'horrific' tackles

08 Jun 2014 06:32:20

Gerrard fury at 'horrific' tackles

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 that were flying in 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," the England captain told ITV1.

"I'm quite frustrated. I thought the ref was poor, the game was interrupted, there was a big one in the first half and they were doing stupid fouls. There was no rhythm, we're frustrated but relieved at 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 refs seeing 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.

"But we came through with no injuries. 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 here 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 among England fans.

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.

Overall, manager Roy Hodgson was happy with the performance, but he was not content with the physical nature of the game, nor the rain interruption.

"They were quite physical," the England manager said of Honduras.

"It was a real stop-start game, one of the most frustrating I've been involved in for a long time. We had a long stoppage, I thought we dealt with it and in the second half it was attack v defence.

"They got their men behind the ball and we didn't take our chances. We attempted to make them but this is a game I will soon forget.

"I will take the draw and that we got away without injuries and that we have experience against Central American opposition."

The good news for Hodgson is that he is able to take Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with him on the flight to Brazil.

Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered medial knee ligament damage during the Ecuador draw, but he walked freely into the Sun Life Stadium on Saturday evening without the aid of the knee brace he had worn for the previous 48 hours.

"Everyone is fit," said Hodgson, who has until Friday to make any changes to his squad.

"Oxlade-Chamberlain is making good progress. I think he'll make the tournament without a shadow of a doubt."

The reason why Hodgson chose Honduras as England's final friendly opponents was because they are similar to the Costa Rica side the Three Lions will face in Brazil.

Costa Rica are viewed as England's easiest Group D opponents, but Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez thinks Hodgson's team may not have it so easy in Belo Horizonte.

He said: "If Costa Rica are organised and orderly, they can create problems for England."


PA

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