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England 0-1 Brazil: Endrick punishes toothless Lions as teen sensation conquers Wembley

Brazil maintained their superb run against England with a narrow 1-0 triumph in an uneventful friendly at Wembley Stadium this evening.

Hopeful of grabbing only their second win in their last 12 matches against the CONMEBOL heavyweights, Gareth Southgate’s side took to the field in high spirits.

England enjoyed another near-flawless qualifying campaign, reaching the 2024 European Championship as undefeated Group C winners (W6, D2).

But their first meeting with Brazil since a goalles draw in November 2017 presented them with a stern test after low-profile encounters against Malta and North Macedonia.

Regardless of what the statistic says, it was a disappointing first half from England fans’ perspective.

Southgate’s side generated nine shots, including three on target, but did virtually nothing to trouble Athletico Paranaense goalkeeper Bento.

Except for Declan Rice’s faint penalty appeal midway through the first half, the Three Lions’ experimental line-up struggled with Brazil’s defensive set-up.

Despite taking the Wembley pitch without standout forward Neymar, the Selecao nearly gave their new manager, Dorival Junior, a perfect welcome gift in the 35th minute.

West Ham United ace Lucas Paqueta had Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford beaten after latching onto a precise pass on the edge of the box, only to see his shot rattle off the post.

That was the closest any of the two sides came to breaking the deadlock in an otherwise ill-tempered affair during the opening 45 minutes.

In Southgate’s defence, Ollie Watkins assumed Harry Kane’s place at the heart of England’s star-studded attack. But it was merely an excuse for another dismal performance from the Euro 2024 favourites.

Even the Bayern Munich goal machine would’ve been helpless, considering the hosts struggled for fluidity in the build-up play and their clueless approach in the final third.

Unfortunately for a sold-out Wembley, nothing changed at the start of the second half as England looked as apathetic and strapped for ideas as before half-time.

Although Southgate tried to spark some energy with a triple change halfway through the second half, Brazil comfortably fended off the Three Lions’ toothless frontlines.

Manchester United teenage sensation Kobbie Mainoo made his senior debut for England after being introduced in the 75th minute alongside his clubmate Marcus Rashford.

However, only five minutes since the prodigious midfielder took Conor Gallagher’s place, the beaten Euro 2024 finalists went a goal down as Endrick put the Brazilians in front.

Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk committed a silly mistake on the halfway line, giving the ball away and enabling the South Americans to pull off a lightning-fast counter.

Vinicius Junior broke one-on-one with Pickford, who thwarted the Real Madrid star with a brilliant diving save.

While Los Blancos’ talisman failed to score from a promising position, the rebound fell nicely for the Madrid-bound prodigy, who tapped the ball into an empty net to give Brazil the lead.

With little time left, England pushed forward in numbers in a desperate attempt to preserve their unbeaten record after the 2022 World Cup, but to no avail.

Things could’ve ended worse for the 1966 World Cup winners had Pickford not stopped Endrick from completing a brace in the final seconds.

Brazil caught England in transition again, with Andreas Pereira setting the youngster up on a platter, only for the Everton stopper to make an impressive leg save to deny him in a one-on-one.

Pickford’s late effort salvaged Southgate from further misery, but if the Three Lions are to live up to their tag as ‘Euro 2024 favourites’, they’ll have to do better.

Belgium’s visit to London next Tuesday will be England’s chance to redeem themselves to the Wembley crowd.

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