Fran Kirby scored the only goal as England Women defeated Brazil in their opening World Cup warm-up match.
Phil Neville’s side qualified unbeaten for France 2019 and they took that form into this international at Meadow Lane.
The Lionesses created a host of chances and probably should have won by a bigger margin, such was their dominance against one of the game’s traditional powerhouses.
- A Women's International
- Saturday 6 October 2018
- at Meadow Lane
England controlled proceedings throughout and made their intentions clear from the off.
They flew out of the traps, leaving their visitors bamboozled and Kirby took full advantage by nodding home Nikita Parris’s right-sided cross after just two minutes.
That attack set the tone for the rest of the game with Kirby, Parris, Rachel Daly and Toni Duggan all having decent chances to extend the lead.
But England’s positive attitude and early goal certainly warmed the cockles on a chilly afternoon in Nottingham.
Menace down the right
Parris was England’s top scorer in qualifying with six goals but she showed no signs of resting on her laurels.
The 24-year-old tormented Camila all afternoon, so much so that the left-back was substituted just after the hour mark.
Parris created a flurry of openings for her fellow forwards and the only thing missing from the No7’s performance was a goal of her own.
Neville said: “Keets is striding forward. Right now, Keets and Toni Duggan are my two stand-out wingers.”
The Man City attacker was supported down the right flank by full-back Lucy Bronze, who put in a typically faultless performance.
Neville believes Bronze is the best player in the world at the moment and, on this form, it is hard to argue with him.
Pleased to meet you
England Women have played close to 400 matches since their maiden international, against Scotland in 1972. But remarkably this was the first-ever time they had faced Brazil.
The Samba stars were World Cup runners-up in 2007, after finishing third four years earlier, so their pedigree is undeniable.
They are captained by the imperious six-time World Player of the Year Marta, so it was a huge disappointment to the 7,000 fans in attendance that the superstar was forced off with a hamstring injury midway through the first half.
Neville reckons his side could face Brazil in the knockout stages next summer so a repeat of this afternoon’s performance and result would be most welcome in eight months’ time.
A faithful following
The women’s game is getting better and better, and the crowds are growing with it, in the FA WSL, the SSE Women’s FA Cup final and at international matches.
Over 25,000 fans packed out St Mary’s for the 0-0 draw with Wales in April while the 7,864 at Meadow Lane was the biggest crowd at Notts County so far this season.
England’s record crowd is 45,619, who came to watch the 3-0 defeat by Germany in 2014.
This was a great start to England’s World Cup preparations – and the pre-tournament warm-up games are coming thick and fast!
Next up is Australia at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night, then it’s Sweden in Rotherham on Sunday 11 November.
Tickets for both matches are priced at £10 for adults and £1 for concessions.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Carly Telford (Chelsea); 2 Lucy Bronze (Lyon), 5 Steph Houghton (capt; Manchester City), 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 3 Alex Greenwood (Manchester United); 4 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 8 Isobel Christiansen (Lyon); 7 Nikita Parris (Manchester City), 10 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 11 Toni Duggan (Barcelona); 9 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash).
Substitutes: 22 Beth Mead (Arsenal) for Duggan 61, 14 Fara Williams (Reading) for Nobbs 70, 20 Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City) for Parris 75, 23 Melissa Lawley (Manchester City) for Kirby 75.
Substitutes not used: 12 Hannah Blundell (Chelsea), 13 Mary Earps (Wolfsburg), 15 Abbie McManus (Manchester City), 16 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 18 Gabrielle George (Everton), 19 Keira Walsh (Manchester City), 21 Siobhan Chamberlain (Manchester United).
Goal: Kirby 2
Bookings: Bronze, Williams
Head coach: Phil Neville
Brazil (4-2-1-3): 1 Barbara; 14, Letica, 3 Bruna, 21 Monica, 22 Camila; 5 Thiasa, 8 Formiga; 10 Marta (capt); 19 Ludmila, 7 Andressa Alves, 9 Debinha.
Substitutes: 20 Raquel for Marta 22, 4 Daiane for Bruna 41, 18 Kerolin for Debinha 57, 6 Tamires for Camila 66, 15 Kathellen for Monica 75, 17 Andressinha for Formiga 77.
Substitutes not used: 2 Poliana, 11 Darlene, 12 Aline, 13 Rilany, 16 Geyse.
Head coach: Vadao