England 1 v Brazil 2
England’s post-World Cup Blues continues as they lost 2-1 to a competent but hardly world-bearing Brazil side at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium this afternoon.
It’s now five games without a win for Phil Neville’s side since they finished fourth in the summer’s World Cup in France.
As hosts England don’t have to qualify for the next Euros, but they have to show more than was on offer to non-Wembley record crowd of 29,238.
Chelsea’s Beth England came off the bench and produced the one Bright spark for the Lionesses but her power header was not enough.
She surely must start in the second friendly in. Portugal on Tuesday.
Keira Walsh had the first effort on goal, on three minutes but her low, right-footer from the edge of the brazil penalty area went well wide.
Some tricky play by the visitors a minute later, saw Joao Beatriz produce a mazy run on the left - her left-footer was on target, but not powerful enough to worry Mary Earps.
Jordan Nobbs pierced the Brazil rearguard thanks to a long ball by Jordan Nobbs and a deft header by Nikita Parris. But Barbosa Barbara was quickly out to the edge of her penalty area to block-tackle Taylor before she could get a shot away.
Parris was unlucky not to get onto a fine Beth Mead cross but Britto Tamires intercepted the ball and cleared for a corner.
The Lioness thought they had the opener on 10 minutes but Taylor was a tad offside before tucking home at the second attempt.
England skipper Step Houghton had to hack the ball clear when Oliveira Debora’s Daisy-cutter looked to have beaten Earps as the visitors piled on the pressure.
Jodie Taylor took all the wrong excisions on 28 minutes when she raced clear on goal. She firstly took two touches of the ball that took her away from goal. Then she tried a delicate chip instead of driving the ball home. The chip landed in the stand behind the goal.
Superstar Silva Marta got the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Parris.
Arsenal’s Beth Mead could have slid the Lionesses into a 43 minute lead, but instead she glanced the ball wide of goal.
England started the second half with apparent more intent - Lucy Bronze had a snatched half-volley easily held by Barbara with seconds of the restart.
But it soon evaporated.
The Achilles heel that is dodgy goalkeeping reared it’s ugly head three minutes later.
Tamires twisted the blood and legs of Parris just inside the England penalty before clipping the perfect cross to Debora. He header was on target but hapless Earps allowed the ball to squeeze under her body and drift over the goal line to gift Brazil the lead.
Neville opted to make his first substitution - Nobbs being replaced by Rachel Daly on 78 minutes.
Just as the record crowd of 29,238 decided to make their own entertainment on 67 minutes - they were getting ley le value from the home side on the pitch - with a Mexican wave - the Lionesses succumbed to another defendable goal. This time Earps was faultless but the same cannot be said of the aimless defending that allowed Debora to get to the ball before Bronze and lift it over the right-back, but also over the goalkeeper.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Neville then gave the dubious task of recusing his side to Chelsea’s Beth England and a Birmingham City’s Lucy Staniforth - Parris and Taylor made way.
The striker did not disappoint as she blasted the Lionesses back into the game on the 80th minute.
Houghton drilled in a deep right-win cross and England’s rose above Alves Monica to power home a bullet header to halve the deficit.
Another glancing header by England, was on target, but did not have the required power or angle to trouble Barbara.
The goalkeeper produced a fine snatch out of the air to thwart Staniforth late on, but the last gasp rally was not enough.
Teams: England, Earps, Bronze, Greenwood, Walsh, Houghton, Williamson, Parris, Scott, Taylor, Nobbs, Mead
Subs, Telford, Roebuck, Bonner, Mannion, Daly, Staniforth, Lawley, Englandis firs
Brazil, Barbara, Giovanni, Erika, Kathleen, Tamires, Miraildes, Debora, Luana, Marta, Francisleide, Beatriz
Subs, Aline, Leticia, Poliana, Bruna Beatriz, Thaisa, Andressa, Aline Milene, Victoria Kristine, Maria, Ludmila, Diane, Monica
Referee: Riem Hussein (Germany)