• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 5:35am
World Cup 2014
SportSoccer
ENGLAND

No goals - but relief at no more injuries for Hodgson

Frustrating run-out for Three Lions, who felt referee was soft on Hondurans' tackling, but Oxlade-Chamberlain's fitness is welcomed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 12:12am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 12:12am

Winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be fit to play at the World Cup after damaging his medial knee ligament against Ecuador in a warm-up game, according to manager Roy Hodgson.

"I think he will make the tournament without a shadow of a doubt. That's good news," Hodgson said after his side were held to a 0-0 draw by 10-man Honduras at the weekend.

A disconsolate Oxlade-Chamberlain (pictured) had hobbled off during the 2-2 draw with Ecuador last Wednesday at the Sun Life stadium in Miami.

England were relieved to get through their latest test ahead of the finals in Brazil without more injuries but captain Steven Gerrard was unhappy with the Honduras tackling.

I don't understand the referee when the ball is being kicked into a player's chest. That should have been a straight red card
Steven Gerrard

Striker Daniel Sturridge was lucky to escape without injury when Emilio Izaguirre booted the ball against his midriff, having just brought him down with a reckless challenge.

"I don't understand the referee when the ball is being kicked into a player's chest," said Gerrard. "That should have been a straight red card and with 10 men it could have been different."

Fellow World Cup qualifiers Honduras were eventually reduced to 10 men in the 65th minute when right back Brayan Beckeles was shown a second yellow card for catching Leighton Baines in the head with his arm as they jumped for the ball.

"We're quite frustrated in the dressing room. We thought the referee was poor, they were doing some stupid fouls," added Gerrard, who was frustrated that England had failed to score. "Maybe we could have moved the ball a bit quicker, but there were some horrific challenges. I certainly got caught by one."

Gerrard said he was withdrawn at half-time as a precaution, with Hodgson not wanting to risk his skipper's fitness.

"I had a tight groin in midweek so it was always the plan for me to play just 45 minutes," he said.

England found themselves short on ideas about how to break Honduras down, even in the latter stages with the numerical advantage.

Sturridge had the best chance of the game after 22 minutes but his weak shot missed the far post and he was guilty of wasting two other good opportunities before a crowd of 45,379 at the Sun Life. The match was suspended for 43 minutes in the first half due to the threat of lightning

"It's time for the real thing now," Hodgson said. "Honduras were quite physical and it was one of the most frustrating games I have been involved in for a long time. I thought the tempo of our play and effort to score in the second half was commendable.

"I will take the draw and take the fact we got away without any injuries."

Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez, whose team lost their previous warm-up game 4-2 to Israel, was delighted with the draw, saying: "A result like that against England can make people in Honduras believe and give them optimism."

England's opening World Cup game is against Italy on Saturday, followed by meetings with Uruguay and Costa Rica in group D. Honduras start versus France before facing Ecuador and Switzerland in group E.

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