By DAN KARELL
It was their second draw in a row, but a late Fred goal saved Brazil from certain embarrassment.
The Brazilian’s tied Russia 1-1 on Monday evening at Stamford Bridge, in London, giving Luiz Felipe Scolari another chance to find his best eleven ahead of next summer’s World Cup, and even this summer’s Confederation Cup.
Both goals scored in the match were wonderful displays of team football. The first, scored by Russia’s Victor Fayzulin in the 73rd minute, went in after a six-pass sequence within the box, that included a sliding block by David Luiz, and a goal-line clearance by Thiago Silva.
The second went in following a five-pass sequence that beautifully opened up the Russian defense, giving Fred the chance to finish from eight yards out. Hulk, Hernanes, and Marcelo were in on the goal before Marcelo’s cross into the center found the 29-year-old Brazilian forward.
The draw means Brazil have not won an official FIFA match since October of last year, a 4-0 win over Japan.
Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:
HODGSON BACKS TEAM TO KEEP THEIR COOL
Playing on the road in World Cup qualifying matches is always difficult, but for England on Tuesday night, the memories of Wayne Rooney’s red card are still fresh in the mind, and with the pressure rising by the minute, it’s a match they can ill afford to lose.
Manager Roy Hodgson though has given his side a boost, saying he is not worried about discipline issues from any of his players, while giving the team a challenge to rise up to the challenge in an important match.
“When you play in big matches for club or country and you’re one of the experienced players, you are always under the responsibility to play well and be the leader everyone expects you to be,” Hodgson told The Telegraph. “On nights like this, our big players need to make sure they’re on form and do what we expect them to do.”
A win for Montenegro on Tuesday would put the tiny nation of 625,000 people five-points above England for a place in the 2014 World Cup. A win for England would put them one point above Montenegro.
GOMEZ WITHDRAWS FROM GERMAN NATIONAL TEAM
Germany manager Joachim Löw has once again been left without a recognizable target man, after Bayern Munich forward Mario Gomez left the squad, still unable to overcome a muscular injury.
Playing with Mario Götze as a “false No.9”, Germany defeated Kazakhstan 3-0 in Astana last Friday. Now, the rematch in Nuremberg will see a similar lineup from Löw, who also stated that Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan would get a start, replacing Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Germany currently sit in first place in Group C of UEFA World Cup qualifying, with 13 points from five games.
Reading have hired sacked Southampton manager Nigel Adkins as their new manager. (REPORT)
Two thousand fans of Racing Club de Avellaneda in Argentina gathered for a rally to celebrate the club’s 110th birthday. (REPORT)
Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk has extended manager Mircea Lucescu’s contract by two years, through 2015. (REPORT)
England’s U-21 side has won their ninth consecutive match with a clean sheet, defeating nine-man Austria 4-0. (REPORT)
Scotland are to host Serbia on Tuesday in a World Cup qualifier, though the match is in doubt due to heavy snow. (REPORT)
After a match in India, over a dozen poisonous snakes made their way onto the field. Talk about home field advantage. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you feel Brazil was lucky to win? Do you see England defeating Montenegro? Think Nigel Adkins can keep Reading in the Premier League?
Share your thoughts below.