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The Lionesses win the 2023 Finalissima on penalties against Brazil!

On April 6th, the England Women’s national team defeated Brazil in the first edition of the Finalissima, the trophy that is played by the current champions of the Euros and Copa America. And Sarina Wiegman’s team continued their solid performances and success after their victory in Wembley Stadium last week.

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When it comes to the development of the actual game, it is interesting to see how the game evolved with each team’s reaction to what the other one was doing. In the first half, Brazil took a very reactionary approach, giving the ball away to England, and the Lionesses had most of the possession, resulting in them producing a bit more chances, although players such as Chelsea winger Lauren James were struggling with decision-making in the final third.

However, England would be the ones to open the score at home with a great collective play that was finished by Manchester United attacker Ella Toone within the box in the 23rd minute. It should also be noted that Toone, after scoring in the recent 2022 Euros final and this game, becomes the first ever English footballer, both male, and female, to score in two international cup finals for the England national team.

The Lionesses looked like the better team for most of the first half and looked set to win the trophy by halftime. However, this is where things started to change as Swedish manager Pia Sundhage, known for her success as a player and coach of the United States and her native country, made two substitutions at halftime, adding forwards Adriana and Andressa Alves, upping the Brazilians’ attacking firepower.

That proved to be the right decision as Brazil looked a lot more dangerous in the first twenty minutes of the second half, pushing England to their own side of the pitch and with the Brazilians having several clear-cut chances that could have changed the final outcome of the game. Forward Geyse and midfielder Kerolin proved to be amongst the top Brazilian performers in this second half.

The home side started to take more control of the game as the minutes went on, but Brazil found an unexpected equalizer in the 93rd minute of the match as Andressa Alves took advantage made by goalkeeper Mary Earps, recently awarded The Best accolade as Goalkeeper of the Year 2022, taking the game to penalties.

When it came to the penalty kicks, Ella Toone missed the second penalty for England and Brazil missed two in Tamires and Rafaelle Souza, with Mary Earps saving the penalty taken by the former. The penalties ended up 4-2 in England’s favour.

Overall, it wasn’t the best kind of performance for the Lionesses, particularly considering how well they have been playing under the guidance of Dutch manager Sarina Wiegman. However, it was one of those performances that got the job done, and the players, particularly Earps, showed a lot of mental resilience to react positively after the unexpected equalizer by the Brazilians.

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