England coach Roy Hodgson lamented a win that got away after his side gave FIFA World Cup™ hosts Brazil a fright Sunday in holding the five-time world champions to an entertaining 2-2 draw in a prestige friendly in Rio de Janeiro.
The visitors, victorious on their last visit back in 1984, when John Barnes famously clinched the win with a solo effort, were on the ropes in an absorbing first half which Brazil largely dominated, but held their own until 12 minutes after the restart when Fred scored for the South American giants.
But a neat strike from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and then a rasping drive from Wayne Rooney turned the match on its head before Paulinho volleyed in eight minutes from time to level a contest held to mark the multi-million dollar refurbishment of the Maracana stadium.
"Some draws can be labelled victories and some draws can be labelled defeats," said Hodgson afterwards.
"We played so well in the second half I thought we might hold on for the win but we were scotched by a wonder strike. We didn't play anywhere near like we wanted to in the first half and Brazil did, so it was a fair result," he conceded.
And after failing to make their superiority in terms of possession in the opening period pay off with a goal, the home side did not disappoint as Fred, also on target at Wembley, latched on to a rebound after Hernanes saw a piledriver come back off the crossbar with keeper Joe Hart beaten.
Hart had already been a busy man in the opening half as he smothered an early chance from close range for Barcelona-bound Neymar and then saved well from Bruno Alves and Oscar.
But no sooner had Fred broken the deadlock on 57 minutes than England suddenly sparked into life after their defences had finally been breached. And ten minutes later Roy Hodgson's side were level through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had barely entered the action as a substitute in place of Glen Johnson. Frank Lampard combined with Rooney and Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose father Mark played in the 1984 England success, fired in a low effort.
Rooney then struck a tremendous second with 11 minutes remaining, his 25-metre effort flicking off Fernando to leave Brazil facing their first home loss to European opposition since Barnes and Chamberlain's exploits of three decades earlier.
Indeed, the Samba stars had not lost any match on home soil in a decade and they managed to salvage their record as Paulinho volleyed powerfully home after Lucas Moura had teed him up with a cross from the right.