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SheBelieves Cup: England downs Brazil 2-1 in opening match

Brazil's Alline, left, leaps to make the save on the shot by England's Nikita Parris, right, during the second half of SheBelieves Cup soccer match Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Chester, Pa. England won 2-1. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

CHESTER, Pa. — Beth Mead’s out-of-this-world strike in the 76th minute powered England past Brazil 2-1 in the SheBelieves Cup opener Wednesday at Talen Energy Stadium.

Mead’s strike was one of two second-half goals scored by the Lionesses, who came back from an early deficit created by the Seleção. 

“I wanted to put it into a good area, but when you get into the box, sometimes you just have to be a bit selfish and shoot,” Mead said. “I connected well with it this time. Sometimes it goes over, sometimes it goes past. This time, I got it right. It could’ve gone anywhere, but luckily for me, it went into the corner.”

After England controlled the first five minutes of play, Brazil stormed into the role of aggressor with Marta taking charge. 

The Brazilian legend delivered a few flashes of individual brilliance in the first half, with her run into the left side of the penalty area in the 15th minute being the most impactful advance. 

Marta skillfully shifted her angle into the box by juking out an English defender before drawing contact in the box to earn a penalty kick.

Andressa took the ball, stepped up to the spot and finished into the left side of the net to put the Brazilians up by a goal. 

England put together a few nice attacking moves at the end of the first half, with Nikita Parris showing well on the right wing. 

However, England wasn’t able to pounce for an equalizer until the 49th minute, when Ellen White curled a shot into the bottom-right corner of the net as she was falling to the ground on the left side of the penalty area. 

“I’m so excited about the win to start the SheBelieves Cup,” Parris said. “We want to look at it game by game. We don’t want to look too far ahead. What a fight back and great team togetherness and two fantastic goals.”

England pulled ahead for good in the 76th minute, as Mead ripped a shot from a tight angle on the right side of the box into the top-left corner. 

Key Plays

Marta danced around a few defenders within a three-minute stretch in the first half. 

Her first burst of skill came on the left wing against two defenders .

The second bit of individual brilliance delivered by the Orlando Pride player came in the 15th minute, when she drew a penalty.

Ellen White’s 49th-minute goal tied the game for the Lionesses. It was her 27th international strike.

Beth Mead’s game-winning goal came from a tight angle on the right side of the field.

Players of the Match

Marta obviously stood out in the first 45 minutes, but Parris created more attacking chances for England in the first half with her intrusions into the right side of the box.

“I think that’s my game running one-v-one,” Parris said. “But also I felt in the middle of the park we got a grip on it in the second half. We made Formiga run more. In the first half, she was far too comfortable on the ball, but then we put the pressure on and got the goals.” 

Brazil goalkeeper Aline also stood out, especially when she made a diving save at the right post in the 55th minute. 

Aline came up with another big denial in the 68th minute, when she stopped Parris’ shot near the right post. 

Mead, who came on as a substitute in the 66th minute, delivered a beautiful strike that could go down as the goal of the tournament. 

“I’m gonna joke and say it was a cross, but she scores them for Arsenal,” White said. “It was an unbelievable goal and I’m delighted for her. She did really well when she came on.” 

Up Next 

England faces the U.S. Women’s National Team on Saturday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, while Brazil opposes Japan in the other game in the second leg of the SheBelieves Cup. 

“Obviously we want to win every game,” White said. “Playing the USA, same as playing Brazil and Japan, they’re tough games, but we want to win every game. It’s a great preparation for us going to the World Cup. We’re excited for it. We know it’s going to be a big crowd. USA is a great team, but we’re excited off the back off this win and have plenty of confidence.” 

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