England survive unscathed
After their short stay in Miami, England can say with some confidence that they are now ready for anything.
Including acts of God.
A ferocious thunderstorm saw their clash with Honduras suspended for 43 minutes yesterday morning (Singapore time), the referee wisely sending the players back to their dressing rooms as fork lightning ripped across the muggy skies.
Given the way that the Hondurans played after the break, Roy Hodgson could have been forgiven for wishing that they had stayed there.
Honduras will be among the weakest teams at this summer's tournament, but no one could question their commitment to the cause, even if it could be argued that the cause was unworthy of their commitment.
Their players flew into challenges, tussling for every loose ball as if it were the last five minutes of the final and not a disjointed and relatively pointless friendly.
England's players were incensed by a series of unnecessarily aggressive challenges that brought little reaction from referee Ricardo Salazar until late in the game when Brayan Beckeles was dismissed for a forearm smash on Leighton Baines.
"We're quite frustrated in the dressing room," said captain Steven Gerrard.
"We thought the refereeing was poor. I think we're a bit relieved that we've come out of there with no injuries."
Honduras could easily have lost Emilio Izaguirre in the first half when the Celtic fullback needlessly blasted the ball into the crotch of Daniel Sturridge.
Izaguirre was fortunate, firstly that referee Salazar felt a booking was punishment enough and, secondly, that Sturridge managed to control his emotions and resist the temptation to dish out his own form of justice.
England's players were torn between responding to the battering with their own heavy challenges, as they did on sporadic occasions, and merely removing themselves from the equation, jumping out of challenges that could cost them a limb.
As a result, it's unwise to take too much from the result, an unfulfilling goalless draw.
Already, there are voices of concern at England's failure to beat either Honduras or Ecuador, but those concerns are misplaced.
Pre-tournament friendlies very rarely offer compelling indicators of future performance.
They are, to all intents and purposes, glorified exercise routines, helping the players to regain the fitness that vanishes so quickly at the end of the domestic season. Nobody wants to be injured, nobody wants to make a mistake.
There were enough small signs of progress to please Hodgson.
The English players understood the conditions and paced themselves well, something they haven't always managed in the past.
They were content to shift the ball about patiently, waiting for space to open up, rather then exhausting themselves by making ceaseless runs in the heat.
With a trip to Manaus on the horizon, where the atmosphere is so humid that you can very nearly literally cut it with a knife, that's an encouraging development.
There were signs, too, of things to worry Hodgson, most notably the wobbly performance of Glen Johnson and the failure to stretch the 10 men of Honduras in the final moments of the game.
But, when you look at England's preparation for the 2010 World Cup, two wins over Mexico and Japan that preceded an abominable tournament, you can see why Hodgson won't lose too much sleep just yet.
The coming World Cup has already lost the services of Radamel Falcao, Franck Ribery and Marco Reus.
England didn't win the game against Honduras, but it was a far greater result simply to survive the night without adding any names to the list of the fallen, either through lightning strikes or Honduran tackles.
The phoney war is over. It's time to travel to Brazil and prepare for the real thing.
Steven gerrard has never heard me once before a game say, ‘Listen lads, a 0-0 might suit us today’. we just concentrate 100 per cent totally on how are we going to attack and how are we going to defend. I’d like to win it.
— England manager Roy Hodgson targeting a win over Italy in their World Cup opener