Samba boys edge friendly in Qatar
Saturday, 14 November, 2009
A Nilmar header gives Brazil a 1-0 victory over England
Stuart Mawhinney in Doha
A 47th-minute header from Nilmar gave Brazil a 1-0 victory over England in Qatar.
The forward ghosted in between Wes Brown and Matthew Upson to direct Elano's cross beyond Ben Foster in the England goal. The advantage might have been doubled just minutes later when Nilmar was felled by Foster inside the area, but Luis Fabiano's penalty was too high and it sailed over the bar.
Fabio Capello was forced into several personnel changes following a series of injuries, with James Milner starting his first international, while Tom Huddleston coming off the bench to make his Senior debut. Brazil's victory was merited as they posed a greater threat throughout the 90 minutes, though England were certainly not totally outclassed by the five-time World Cup winners.
In his 57th game Wayne Rooney captained his country for the first time, and if it were not enough of an occasion for the Manchester United forward, Brazil were the opponents.
With his first touch Rooney released Darren Bent who was flagged offside, a signal of the attacking intent from England.
Just two minutes later and Shaun Wright-Phillips provided a dangerous cross that almost provided Rooney with the chance to open the scoring. The ball was inches away from landing perfectly, and although James Milner retrieved the ball Gareth Barry saw his shot deflect comfortably for Julio Cesar in the Brazil goal.
Ten minutes in and Joleon Lescott saved England with a crucial intervention on the penalty spot. Nilmar on the left flank picked Matthew Upson's pocket and drove towards goal before seeking out Luis Fabiano, only for Lescott to intercede.
Wayne Bridge made a similar interception when Elano burst into the area, but largely the opening quarter of the game passed without incident for either goalkeeper.
Ben Foster gathered a simple shot from Felipe Melo on the half hour mark, but moments later had to be alive to a curling effort from Kaka.
England had a spell of sustained pressure that started with controversy as Bent flicked on for Rooney who looked clean through, only for Thiago to seemingly halt his progress. The referee waved away Rooney's claim, but from the resulting attack Milner flashed a left-footed shot over the bar.
The second half started with a bolt from the blue as Brazil took the lead with a bullet header from Nilmar past the reach of Foster. A lightning start for the five-time World Champions, and it would mean England needed to come from behind to register their fourth victory over the Samba side.
The speed of Nilmar then created an opportunity for Brazil to double their lead, but surprisingly Luis Fabiano spurned the chance from the spot.
Wes Brown chested the ball down for Foster, but Nilmar got to the ball first and prodded it past Foster who was committed and gave away a penalty as a result. Fabiano stepped up with confidence, but skied his shot much to the relief of Manchester United pair Foster and Brown.
68 minutes into the match, with both sides having made changes to their attacking options, Milner hit a side-footed volley over the bar following a super deep cross from Wright-Phillips.
Finding space at the back post, the Aston Villa midfielder who was making his full senior debut, slammed the ball narrowly over the bar.
From a trademark counter attack by Dunga's team Wes Brown managed an unorthodox, but successfully interception to deny Nilmar a second headed goal.
Moments later, Lucio strode forward and thundered a left-footed shot back off the post. Thankfully for England the ball cannoned clear of any Brazilian forwards.
Jermaine Jenas then produced an inspired challenge to thwart another inspired piece of one-touch passing from Brazil.
With ten minutes remaining Fabio Capello sent on Tom Huddlestone for his England debut, with Spurs teammate Peter Crouch also partnering Jermain Defoe up front.
In still sweltering humidity, England searched for an equaliser to make their last game of the decade a more memorable result but could not muster the all important goal.
1 Ben Foster, 2 Wes Brown, 3 Wayne Bridge, 4 Gareth Barry, 5 Matthew Upson, 6 Joleon Lescott, 7 Shaun Wright Phillips, 8 Jermaine Jenas, 9 Darren Bent, 10 Wayne Rooney (C), 11 James Milner
Substitutes 12 Robert Green, 13 Gary Cahill, 14 Stephen Warnock, 15 Tom Huddlestone, 16 Peter Crouch, 17 Jermain Defoe, 18 Ashley Young, 21 Joe Hart