Brazil wonderkid Endrick hits winner past lacklustre England


Wonderkid Endrick scored his first goal for Brazil as the five-time world champions hit England’s Euro 2024 preparations with a 1-0 victory at Wembley.

The 17-year-old sensation will join Real Madrid from Palmeiras this summer for £62m, but showed Europe a glimpse of his potential with a poacher’s finish with nine minutes remaining, tapping in after Jordan Pickford saved Vinicius Jnr’s one-on-one chance.

Endrick had only just come on as a substitute and his celebrations were wild. Pickford then denied him a second with the last kick of the game – it was some cameo.

Brazil should have been ahead long before that breakthrough, with Kyle Walker injuring himself in the process of stopping a goal-bound Vinicius shot in a first half which also saw Rodrygo fire wide after Harry Maguire’s error and Lucas Paqueta hit a post. England’s defending was ragged.

The home side felt West Ham’s Paqueta should have been shown a second yellow card for a foul on the targeted Jude Bellingham before the break, but they should have hit the net themselves when Ollie Watkins – given his chance in the absence of injured captain Harry Kane – blazed over inside the box.

The second half drifted for long periods as England – missing 12 squad regulars – laboured but ultimately it was an injury-hit Brazil, packed with debutants, a new manager in charge, and on their worst run of results in 22 years who came out on top.

Gareth Southgate and England will need to find more of a spark and more defensive cohesion when they face Belgium at the national stadium on Tuesday if they are to showcase why they are being fancied among the favourites to become European champions in Germany this summer.

Sam Blitz’s player ratings

England: Pickford (7); Walker (6), Stones (6), Maguire (6), Chilwell (5); Rice (7), Gallagher (6), Bellingham (8); Foden (7), Watkins (5), Gordon (7)

Subs:Konsa (7), Dunk (5), Gomez (6), Mainoo (6), Rashford (5)

Brazil:Bento (7); Danilo (7), Bruno (7), Beraldo (8), Wendell (7); Guimaraes (8), Gomes (7), Paqueta (6); Raphinha (6), Rodrygo (6), Vinicius (7)

Subs:Pereira (7), Endrick (8), Savio (6), Luiz (6), Bremer (n/a), Maia (n/a)

Player of the match:Endrick

How Brazil beat England

With new boss Dorival Junior fielding five debutants in his Brazil line-up, England looked to capitalise on any uncertainty in their backline and threatened through a couple of early set-pieces. That would be a feature of the first half, with Brazil racking up 12 fouls and Paqueta fortunate not to pick up a second yellow – but England’s deliveries lacked precision.

Team news

  • England boss Gareth Southgate handed Anthony Gordon his debut and Ollie Watkins the chance to impress from the start. Conor Gallagher also got the nod in midfield.
  • Injury-hit Brazil named five debutants in their starting team: goalkeeper Bento, Fabricio Bruno, Beraldo, Wendell and Wolves’ Joao Gomes. Vinicius Jr started in attack.

It didn’t take the visitors long to click into gear with the ball, though. The lively Rodrygo tested Pickford before Walker had to hit the turbo to get back and stop Vinicius’ goal-bound shot after a wonderful pass through from Paqueta.

Kyle Walker picked up an injury in England's friendly against Brazil
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Kyle Walker picked up an injury in England’s friendly against Brazil

Walker injured himself in the process though, and was replaced by Ezri Konsa soon after, with a potential hamstring issue a worry for Premier League-chasing Man City who play title rivals Arsenal next Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

Rodrygo shot wide when well placed just before that substitution but England found momentum of their own, with Watkins firing over a golden opportunity to score a statement strike after Conor Gallagher’s lifted pass and Ben Chilwell twice firing off target from the edge of the box.

Brazil remained a threat, though, and should have gone ahead when the ball was cut back for Paqueta to shoot against the upright just after the half-hour. England’s defence was pulled all over the place, with Chilwell out of position. There was another let-off when a bad Maguire error shortly before the break went unpunished by Raphinha who had latched onto the miscued backpass.

Brazils' Vincius Junior makes an attempt to score
Image:
Brazils’ Vincius Junior makes an attempt to score

England debutant Anthony Gordon hit the target with a tentative half-volley when a free-kick found him unmarked at the back post at the start of the second half, and that lack of conviction was a sign of what was to come from the home side.

It was another 10 minutes before John Stones unleashed their next shot. With the game drifting in Brazil’s favour the visitors almost took the lead in style, with Paqueta curling a fine effort just wide.

Both sides introduced their stars of the future in the latter stages, with Endrick sent on and Manchester United’s 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo unleashed by Southgate for his international debut – but it was the boy from Brazil who decided it.

He dropped to his knees at full-time, overcome with the emotion of it all. An unforgettable night for him – but one England will have to learn lessons from if they are to play better against top-level opposition this summer.

What’s next for England?

England are back in action again on Tuesday when they take on Belgium at Wembley in an international friendly; kick-off 7.45pm.

Gareth Southgate’s side then play two more international friendlies against Bosnia and Herzegovina at St James’ Park on June 3 and Iceland at Wembley on June 7 before beginning their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia on June 16.



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