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England vs Brazil friendly: three key battles to look out for at Wembley

February 6, 2013 By Abdullah Zubair
Samba giants Brazil square off against the Three Lions in a much anticipated friendly match on Wednesday. Midfield battles could decide the game.

Ramires and Wilshere will engage in one of multiple midfield battles during England vs Brazil.England in particular will take this tie seriously ahead of their World Cup qualifiers in March. Both the teams bolster some amazing attacking talents but the match may be ultimately decided on which team dominates the midfield.

Following injury to Manchester united man Michael Carrick his fellow teammate Tom Cleverly is expected to replace him in the starting lineup, with Arsenal prodigy Jack Wilshere and captain Steven Gerrard likely to partner him in the middle of the park.

The best thing about this trio is the flexibility they offer, all three players are capable of playing the holding as well as the advanced roles. This gives Roy Hodgson the option of using a 4-3-3 formation.


However it is more likely that the England manager will deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation with Gerrard occupying the advanced role. Brazil themselves feature some of the glooming stars in their midfield; the three men midfield is likely to comprise of Chelsea duo Ramires and Oscar. Inter Milan and Chelsea target Paulinho is expected to complete a combative trio.  

Gerrard vs Paulinho

In their captain Steven Gerrard, England have a complete midfielder. The England veteran has a variety of abilities including his passing range he uses to create chances for others. He has a lethal shooting ability which coincides with his terrific scoring record. Apart from his attacking talents, Gerrard has the tendency to come back to his own half and help defend.

Paulinho will do his best to guarantee that Gerrard is not given much time on the ball. Paulinho who plays his trade at Brazilian side Corinthians helped his side in winning the title by conceding the fewest goals in the history of the tournament. He has amazing strength and pace, but should be at his best to keep Gerrard at bay. Paulinho on the other hand is also known for making late runs into the box seeking goal scoring opportunities, Gerrard should thus be aware of his defensive responsibilities. 

Wilshere vs Ramires

Probably one of the most exciting battles will see two tireless midfielders against one another. Jack Wilshere has been an inspiration for Arsenal after returning from a 14 month injury lay off. Ramires on the other hand has been doing superbly in his defensive midfield role at Chelsea. The Chelsea man put up a man of the match performance against Wilshere’s side Arsenal when the two sides met in January. Ramires will need to put up a similar performance to stop Wilshere.

The England midfielder has the ability to walk past defences with his amazing dribbling skills, he has the tendency to make those key defence splitting passes creating chances for his teammates. In many aspects Ramires and Wilshere are of a similar kind and it will be exciting to see who triumphs when the two sides meat each other.

Cleverly vs Oscar

Dubbed as the new Kaka, Oscar is one of the rising stars in the Brazilian squad. His creativity will be instrumental in the game; Oscar is likely to be positioned as a playmaker given his great vision and the accuracy of his passes. In addition to this he is a wonderful dribbler of the ball and will cause a lot of trouble to the English midfield. 

England will be counting on young Tom Cleverly to keep Oscar in his pockets. The midfielder who has made 22 starts for United this season will need to tightly mark Oscar. It’s important that Oscar is not given much time on the ball and is closed down.


The English midfield does have a slight upper hand when it comes to experience, but ability wise it is a very even match. Both the midfields have an amazing blend of strength, steel and creativity. All in all it should be a very mouth watering battle.


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