The low temperature and the fact that the host nation isn’t involved in the match might explain the disappointingly low attendance at the Talen Energy Stadium in the opening game of the 2019 She Believes Cup.
The first piece of action in the game came when Adriana shot at the England goal but her shot failed to trouble Carly Telford.
In the first fifteen minutes, the Lionesses failed to really put together any meaningful spells of possession or penetration going forward.
The superstar of the women’s game, Marta won the ball from Steph Houghton just inside the England half and then broke into the box. Houghton looked to have caught up but a quick turn from Marta put the Manchester City captain on the floor. Lucy Bronze comes in to support but her challenge puts Marta onto the ground and the referee points to the spot. My first impressions were that it was a penalty but from another angle, Bronze clearly gets the ball before Marta hits the deck.
Brazil followed up that goal with good periods of direct and decisive passing. On the other hand, the Lionesses were struggling to get into the game until the half-hour mark when Nikita Parris was unfortunate not to head in the equaliser. The chance came after a lovely ball from Karen Carney.
There were a few more half chances in the first half but nothing that really troubled either keeper. The first half finished 1-0 to the girls in yellow and if I’m honest, I couldn’t have too many arguments with that. England needed to improve in the second half if they had any desire to get back into this game.
Clearly words were said at half time and the Lionesses regained their focus as they quickly equalised through Ellen White after she finished early from a tight angle after being put through by Fran Kirby.
Parris showing no ill effects of a knock that she received at the end of the first half as she shot just wide. Parris took a tumble as she shot, there was minimal contact from the Brazilian defender and a penalty would have been harsh!
Phil Neville’s side took charge and became the dominant side of the two. After 66 minutes the boss made the first of the six substitutes available to him and brough off Karen Carney and Izzy Christiansen came off for Beth Mead and Rachel Daly respectively.
Mead made an immediate impact with a lovely goal to put England ahead. The cynics might claim that this was meant to be a cross but I say no chance! Her effort caught Aline Villares Reis off guard and lobbed over the Brazilian keeper.
Parris had a chance to grab a goal but was denied by a double save by Villares Reis. There wasn’t too much goal mouth action in the closing fifteen minutes. Despite the introduction of the highly rated Benfica forward, Geyse Ferreira, Brazil failed to trouble England in the closing stages and spent long periods of the second half in their own half.
While it wasn’t the best performance in the first half the Lionesses finished the game deserved winners and will now be looking forward to taking on the host, United States of America on Saturday at 9:30 pm GMT. The match will again be shown live on the BBC.
England Lionesses: Telford, Bronze, Greenwood, Walsh, Houghton, McManus, Parris, Christiansen (Daly), Kirby (Staniforth), White (Duggan), Carney (Mead)
Brazil Women: Villares Reis, Santos de Oliveira, Cristiano dos Santos, Hickmann Alves (Sousa Feitozaat), Soares Paz (Moraes Rosa Morenoat) da Silva (de Oliveira), Maciel Mota, Alves da Silva, Leal da Silva, Vieira da Silva (da Silva Ferreira), Zaneratto João (Fernandes dos Santos)