England coachRoy Hodgson hailed his players for producing a “coming of age” performance in a 2-2 draw against Brazil at the Maracana on Sunday. After being outplayed in the first half and eventually falling behind to a goal from Fred, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wayne Rooney struck a pair of superb strikes in the space of 12 minutes to put the Three Lions into the lead. In the end, it took a wonder goal from Paulinho three-minutes after Rooney’s go-ahead goal to spare Brazil’s blushes.
"We were looking forward, and terribly excited, to play in the Maracanã against a Brazil side preparing for the Confederations Cup,” Hodgson said. “For us it is the end of a long season and it's a long trip against a good team. So we're delighted with how we kept ourselves in the game and didn't capitulate despite them being clearly better than us. In the second half we were every bit as good as them and we take lot of credit for that,” he added.
“Most teams, managers and coaches know that when you come to Brazil they will have more of the ball and create more chances. The question is if you can deal with it and come away with a result, and that's what we have done." Hodgson, who came under fire from former England strikerGary Lineker for deploying what he described as tactics from “the dark ages” in the 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley last Wednesday, noted that "the last two performances have been very different against two very different sides but I think there are a lot of positives to take out of it.”