The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
England, 10-man Honduras draw physical WCup warm-up halted for 45 minutes due to lightning
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - England and Honduras drew 0-0 in a fiery and physical final World Cup warm-up match that saw Honduras defender Brayan Beckeles sent off at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday.
The weather was as wild as some of the action on the pitch in Miami Gardens, with the game halted midway through the first half for 45 minutes due to a lightning storm.
England struggled to create scoring chances even with a man advantage, and the pressure will grow for Ross Barkley to start in Brazil after the 20-year-old midfielder raised the tempo when he came on at half time.
"If you look at the chances we had the better, but we're quite frustrated," captain Steven Gerrard said. "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.
"There were some horrific tackles for a friendly. I got caught with a bad one."
Beckeles, who had been booked for a lunge on Danny Welbeck, was shown a second yellow card in the 66th minute after catching Leighton Baines' face with his elbow.
"The lesson is we can't play with 10, we need to be more careful," Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez said through a translator.
Honduras kicks off its World Cup campaign next Sunday against France, a day after England opens against Italy.
The hot and humid conditions were exactly what England came to Miami for, but not the storm that worsened during the opening 20 minutes.
Before the disruption, Wayne Rooney's free kick was spilled by Noel Valladares but no England player was primed to exploit the goalkeeper's shakiness. And, when Rooney set up Daniel Sturridge, the striker struck wide on the turn.
Warning messages flashed up on stadium big screens urging fans to first leave their uncovered seats, and then for the players to go off the pitch.
"We were just about to slice through them and it was a great relief for them when the rain came," England goalkeeper Joe Hart said.
When they returned, Emilio Izaguirre was fortunate not to be sent off for tripping Sturridge and then kicking the striker as he was on the ground. The defender was only booked by Ricardo Salazar.
"I don't understand refs seeing balls slammed into players' chests," Gerrard said. "It's a clear red card."
England was more threatening after the break when Rooney and captain Gerrard were replaced by the youthful legs of Barkley and Jack Wilshere. Barkley quickly unleashed a shot from outside the penalty area, and later burst forward unchallenged to feed Sturridge, who chipped wide.
It was surprising that it took until the 66th for a red card to be shown, but England could not exploit its man advantage. Although Barkley was adding energy and pace with his runs, Sturridge squandered another opening when he headed wide from Glen Johnson's cross.
"It was a real stop-start game, one of the most frustrating I've been involved in for a long time," England coach Roy Hodgson said. "We had a long stoppage, I thought we dealt with it and in the second half it was attack vs. 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."
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