Copy of 2023-04-07T012249Z_1768445803_UP1EJ4703TZSB_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-FINALISSIMA-ENG-BRA-REPORT-1680862179687
England players celebrate with the trophy after winning the Women's Finalissima against Brazil at Wembley Stadium, London. Image Credit: Action Images via Reuters

London: England beat Brazil in a penalty shootout in a thrilling inaugural Women’s Finalissima on Thursday, the second straight international trophy hoisted by the Lionesses at a jam-packed Wembley Stadium.

Tied 1-1 at fulltime, Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses beat Brazil 4-2 in the shootout to improve their unbeaten streak to 30 games.

“I feel privileged,” Wiegman said. “It’s such an incredible group, and the team is so committed and we want to learn every day and it’s so nice to be a part of.” Thursday’s game, which drew 83,132 fans and sold out in early October, featured the European and South American champions and was a key part of preparations for the Women’s World Cup in July and August.

Ella Toone netted her 16th goal for England in the 23rd minute when Lucy Bronze cut the ball back for her team mate to slot in from the edge of the six-yard box.

Home fans

Georgia Stanway, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood and Chloe Kelly scored for England in the shootout.

“It’s great being back here at Wembley in front of our home fans,” Kelly said. “They were brilliant again tonight. It’s home to me and the girls gave a brilliant performance again tonight, and we keep moving forward.” England and Manchester United keeper Mary Earps said she was prepared for a shootout.

“I had to be, after the last few minutes of the game I had no choice,” Earps said. “Win by hook or by crook, so yeah, just really pleased with that tonight.” Andressa Alves sent the game to a shootout when she equalised in the 93rd minute, pouncing on a loose ball that keeper Earps had trouble controlling.

The night saw a return to the venue where the Lionesses edged Germany to win the 2022 European Championship in front of 87,192 fans, a record for a women’s game in Europe.

Fans cheered what they thought was a second England goal in the first half, but Lauren James’ shot into the roof of the net was whistled for offside.

Pia Sundhage’s Canarinhas found their form in the second half and Geyse, a forward for Barcelona, had a chance at an equaliser that was tipped over the crossbar by keeper Earps.

Perfect tune-up

The nailbiting back-and-forth game was a perfect tune-up for the World Cup, Wiegman said.

“The first half was really good, the second half we got challenged a lot,” she said. “I’m happy, it’s good that we have that information and we take it from here.” The Lionesses play Australia on Tuesday at Brentford’s Gtech Stadium.

Brazil play Germany on Tuesday in Nuremberg.

England debuted their blue shorts, unveiled earlier in the week after players voiced their concerns about playing in white while on their period.