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England escapes Honduras clash unscathed

Monday, June 09, 2014

MIAMI, Florida - England manager Roy Hodgson breathed a sigh of relief after his team emerged unscathed from a bruising goalless draw with Honduras in Miami on Saturday.

A match interrupted by a lightning storm also saw plenty of sparks on the pitch with a number of full-blooded challenges that would have given Hodgson some anxious moments.

Honduras had Brayan Beckeles sent off in the 66th minute for a second bookable offence but will take heart from a battling display and a clean sheet after losing their previous two warm-up games 4-2 to Israel and 2-0 to Turkey.

England created several openings but failed to take advantage with Daniel Sturridge the main culprit but Hodgson was now looking forward to getting down to the main business at hand.

"It's time for the real thing now. Everyone is fit, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is making progress and I think he will make the tournament," Hodgson said of the injured Arsenal midfielder.

"Honduras were quite physical and it was one of the most frustrating games I have been involved in for a long time."

Wayne Rooney made his third straight start for England, making him the only member of Roy Hodsgon's squad to play in all three pre-World Cup warm-ups.

The Manchester United forward was again asked to play on the left flank and it was Rooney who produced the first effort on goal with a curling free-kick in the 14th minute which Honduras keeper Noel Valladrares spilled.

Rooney then sparked another England opportunity when, on the edge of the area, he fed Danny Welbeck, who dummied the ball allowing it to run into the path of Sturridge who should have done better than drag a left foot shot wide of the post.

Sturridge's Liverpool team-mate Raheem Sterling was missing after picking up a red card in the 2-2 draw against Ecuador on Wednesday and Honduras's Emilio Izaguirre was fortunate to avoid a similar punishment after he drove the ball into Sturridge's midrift while he lay on the ground.

Rooney made way for Ross Barkley at the break with Jack Wilshere taking the place of Steven Gerrad in the centre of midfield.

Barkley quickly made an impact with a snap shot that flashed wide just two minutes after the re-start and he seemed to give England some instant creative impetus.

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