Notts County’s Meadow Lane was lucky enough to play host to the England Lionesses this weekend, and they treated the 7,864 fans in attendance to a 1-0 victory over the Seleção. Chelsea Ladies’ Fran Kirby scored the only goal of the game after just two minutes, and England were unlucky not to score more in what was a strong performance from the team.
“Kirby showed off her credentials”
Phil Neville, who was appointed in January of this year, spoke highly of Kirby after the game, suggesting that he would have her over the Brazilian star player Marta, who is often renowned as the greatest women’s player of all time. It was certainly Kirby who showed off her credentials early on however, as she was found by an excellent Nikita Parris cross, and she headed home emphatically off the woodwork.
Despite the Lionesses dominating, it was Brazil who came closest to scoring next, when the ball fell kindly for striker Fernandes dos Santos, who had incidentally replaced Marta early on after an injury, but her effort went just wide of Carly Telford’s post.
England’s next best chance came when the instrumental Jordan Nobbs, for me the best player on the pitch at times, spread the ball beautifully to the dangerous Parris, who did well to beat the left back once again. But her fierce effort was well saved by the keeper and the winger could only turn the follow-up over the bar.
“The second half was more even, with Brazil having a chance to equalise”
After a strong first half showing from the Lionesses, the second half was a little more even, with Brazil having the chance to equalise when a loose pass from Alex Greenwood found Raquel in acres of space, but Telford was alert to come off her line to deny the Brazilians a goal. Rachel Daly too was extremely unlucky not to double England’s lead when she brilliantly met Greenwood’s cross, but was denied by an equally brilliant save from Brazilian goalie de Monte Barbosa.
It was a slightly nervy last few minutes for England as they switched their focus from going for another goal to settling for their one-goal lead. But Brazil, ranked five places behind England in the world standings, couldn’t find an equaliser, and Neville’s squad made it five wins from their last five games.
After this stellar performance, their run was stopped by Australia at Craven Cottage on Tuesday. Kirby again kicked off the scoring and Staniforth had a second goal ruled out for offside, which was proven to be the wrong decision after watching the replays. England dominated this fixture but couldn’t hold out for 6 wins in 6 after a solid 1-0 win over Brazil Women at the weekend.
With this round of friendlies over, Neville has a month to recoup and find ways to help his side be more “clinical” with their chances, as their next fixture is against Sweden on 11th November.