Brazil insist Maracana is safe ahead of England visit

THE BRAZILIAN Football Federation is confident Sunday’s friendly between Brazil and England will go ahead as planned, despite a court order last night deeming the newly-refurbished Maracana stadium unsafe.

The 78,000-capactity venue is yet to have been granted a safety certificate by the state government of Rio de Janeiro ahead of the weekend’s visit from Roy Hodgson’s side and judge Adriana Costa dos Santos cancelled the fixture yesterday.

However, it is believed the stadium is fit for purpose with a delay in processing the necessary paperwork, due to Thursday being a public holiday in Brazil, the only problem.

Should the game go ahead, Hodgson looks likely to have only 13 fully fit outfield players to choose from, but knows England will still be expected to get a good result.

“There are four, five maybe even six players who will be in serious consideration for the games [World Cup qualifiers] in the autumn who aren’t with us,” he said. “Every time you play a game for England, even if you are without any of your first choice players, you would still be expected to get a result and we’ll work very hard to get it.”

England’s 1-1 draw with Republic of Ireland on Wednesday led to former striker Gary Lineker questioning their “archaic tactics”.

Lineker, who scored 48 goals for England, felt Hodgson’s rigid 4-4-2 system was “predictable and dated” and was a step backwards to the “dark ages of two lines of four”.

Aside from two thrashings of the world’s lowest ranked team San Marino, England have drawn their last three World Cup qualifying matches and their latest failure to see off Ireland leaves question marks about their ability to return to Brazil for next summer’s showpiece.

However, Hodgson insists his philosophy will remain unchanged.

“I’m not a person who is stuck with a system, I’m stuck with principles and stuck with my belief it’s football players who win matches and you need to get your best players on the field in positions that suit them,” said the 65-year-old.

“We’re playing with two front players and asking at least one of those two front players, when we lose the ball, to drop back and help out in midfield – just like Borussia Dortmund did and got their way to the [Champions League] final.

“There have been matches in my past, not necessarily with the England team, when I’ve come off a winner and been very disappointed with what I’ve seen and worried about the future. On Wednesday I didn’t have that feeling.”