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FIFA World Cup 2014: England complain about ‘horrific’ tackles in Honduras friendly

Sunday, 8 June 2014 - 9:16pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna webdesk

England captain Steven Gerrard condemned Honduras’s tacking as "horrific", as England emerged frustrated. They were relieved to be relatively unscathed, from a bruising and interrupted final preparation game for the World Cup at the Sun Life stadium in Miami, Florida. The England squad departed for Brazil immediately after a tempestuous game that was paused by the referee midway through the first half and delayed for 43 minutes, as a thunderstorm rolled over Miami. Neither side could register a goal when the game restarted, which eventually ended in a stalemate. Honduras’ aggression, which earned them four yellow cards and eventually saw Brayan Beckeles sent off for thrusting a forearm into Leighton Baines, unnerved Roy Hodgson's side with the World Cup just days away.

Baines, who had been on the receiving end of other illegal challenges but was one of three Englishmen also cautioned, opted against shaking hands with any of his opponents at the final whistle and departed straight down the tunnel, while a water bottle appeared to be thrown at winger Daniel Sturridge as he left the pitch. "We thought the referee was poor," said the English captain Gerrard of  referee Ricardo Salazar’s performance. “Maybe we could have moved the ball a bit quicker, but there were some horrific challenges out there. There was no rhythm so we’re frustrated, if relieved at no injuries. I thought there were some horrific tackles for a friendly and that too just few days away from the world cup. I got caught with a bad one." That was in reference to a first half foul by Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre on the Gerrard, where the Celtic left-back sled in with two feet and taking out Gerrard's ankle, leaving the English captain clutching his ankle in distress.

England manager Roy Hodgson said, "Honduras were quite physical, but 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 for the storm, and I thought we dealt with it well. In the second half it was attack versus defence. I thought the tempo of our play and effort to score in the second half was commendable. I will take the draw and take the fact we got away without any injuries as positives. We go to Brazil in the right frame of mind." More encouraging still was Hodgson’s latest assessment of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s prospects of playing a part at the World Cup. The Arsenal midfielder had damaged medial ligaments in his right knee in the midweek draw with Ecuador and, while he is no longer wearing a brace, the joint is still supported by heavy strapping. He travelled with the 23-man party to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night. “Alex is making progress and I think he will make the tournament, without a shadow of a doubt," Hodgson added.

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