Sarina Wiegman praises England resilience after shootout win over Brazil

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Sarina Wiegman praised England’s resilience after they recovered from conceding a late equaliser to beat Brazil on penalties in the inaugural Women’s Finalissima at Wembley.

The Lionesses led through Ella Toone’s 23rd-minute finish until the third minute of stoppage time, when Mary Earps spilled a cross and substitute Andressa Alves fired in to bring things level at 1-1 and take the contest to spot-kicks.

In the subsequent shootout Toone was the first player to fail to score, seeing her effort saved by Leticia, but Earps produced a great save to deny Tamires moments later.

And after Rafaelle then sent her kick against the bar, Chloe Kelly converted the decisive penalty to secure England a 4-2 victory and another trophy, in front of a crowd of 83,132.

Boss Wiegman said: “It was a very exciting night at the end, with of course an incredible crowd, and pitch – this environment we’ll never take for granted.

“I think the first half we played really well. We had a lot of possession, created lots of chances, we scored an incredible goal, we hoped to score a little more than one.

“The second half they went back to 4-4-2, put a very high press and then we were struggling, to get out of their press, to keep the ball in possession, so then they became dangerous, and at the end we conceded a goal, which can happen.

England v Brazil – Women’s Finalissima – Wembley Stadium
Niamh Charles, Lauren Hemp, Laura Coombs and Esme Morgan celebrate with the trophy (Adam Davy/PA)

It was the first time Wiegman’s European champions had been involved in a shootout during her now 30-game unbeaten tenure.

And the Dutchwoman – whose side open their campaign at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand on July 22 – said: “I think that always helps, experiences – then you recognise situations, how you feel when you have that walk with 83,000 people screaming.

“After it all, I’m really happy with the penalties – in the moment, when we drew, of course I wasn’t happy, we all weren’t happy, but we switched real quickly.

Chloe Kelly
Chloe Kelly celebrates scoring the winning penalty (Adam Davy/PA)

“Of course you practice it and try to get as close as possible to a real game, but it can’t get more real than this, so I think that really helps. Every experience will help you to move forward.”

It was another memorable Wembley moment for Kelly, scorer of the winner in last summer’s Euros final at the stadium.

And Wiegman added: “Very good isn’t it! I said it to her too. At the end it is a team thing, but was it was really nice – now the final moments, in the Euros the final moments. That looks really good!”

England play what is set to be their last match before Wiegman names her World Cup squad when they take on Australia in Brentford on Tuesday.

Brazil boss Pia Sundhage, whose side had gone close just before the hour when Geyse’s shot hit Earps’ palm and the ball dropped on to the crossbar, said of the closing stages: “When you score a goal in front of so many people, it is a feeling that all of us will remember, everybody goes crazy, which was great.

“Then we lost on the penalty kicks. At this moment, I think it’s tough, it’s hard, but at the end of day this is not the World Cup. This is a journey to the World Cup and we are learning so many things from this game.

“The younger players experienced a great England, probably one of the favourites in the World Cup, but also in front of a big crowd. We said you have to enjoy this moment, and I think they did, especially in the second half.”

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