England welcome Brazil to the Riverside in an international friendly on Saturday. This is the Lionesses' first home match since their record-breaking World Cup campaign, with over 30,000 fans expected to flock to Middlesborough as they take on a new look Brazil side.
Saturday's game will also see the FA working with the Darby-Rimmer Foundation to help raise awareness for motor neurone disease; a cause with great personal importance to England captain Steph Houghton, after her husband – former Bradford and Bolton defender Stephen Darby – was diagnosed with the condition last year.
England and Brazil last met in February at the SheBelieves Cup, with the Lionesses securing a narrow 2-1 win. Despite the close contest, the pair have experienced contrasting fortunes since.
England enjoyed an excellent World Cup campaign, marching to the semi-finals before eventually losing to the USA. Ellen White hit six goals and Lucy Bronze won the silver ball as the Lionesses changed perceptions of women's football in the UK.
Brazil meanwhile were beaten by hosts France in the last 16; a disappointing but not unexpected finish from a once world class squad. The talismanic Marta gave an impassioned speech at full-time, commanding the younger generation of Brazilian players to step up.
Both sides will use this fixture as ideal preparation for next summer's Olympics. With Tokyo 2020 drawing ever closer, there is momentum to build and squad places are up for grabs.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 5 October|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||12:45|
|Where Is It Played?||Riverside Stadium|
|TV Channel/Livestream?||BBC One|
Defenders Millie Bright and Demi Stokes have both pulled out of the England squad due to injury, and have been replaced by Gemma Bonner and Lucy Staniforth.
Jordan Nobbs could make her first appearance for England since returning from the ACL injury that cost her a place at the World Cup. The Arsenal midfielder has looked back to her best during the opening weeks of the WSL, scoring one and creating another with a beautiful cushioned pass during Arsenal's 4-0 win over Brighton.
Centre-back Leah Williamson has been deployed in a defensive midfield role for the Gunners in recent weeks. It will be interesting to see where Phil Neville opts to place the versatile Arsenal star – particularly with Abbie McManus' late withdrawal.
New Brazil manager Pia Sundhage has shaken things up since taking charge in July. Sundhage, who led the USA to two Olympic golds, has made a number of changes to the squad that reached the last 16 in France.
However, six time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta and 41-year-old Formiga remain, and both are in contention to start.
|England||Telford; Greenwood; Houghton; Williamson; Bronze; Walsh; Scott; Nobbs; Mead; Parris; Taylor.|
|Brazil||Bárbara; Tamires; Mônica; Kathellen; Poliana; Formiga; Thaisa; Milene; Debinha; Marta; Alves.|
Head to Head Record
England came out on top in the last meeting between the pair, winning 2-1 thanks to a Beth Mead wonder goal in what was an unconvincing win for the Lionesses.
Phil Neville's side also edged Brazil out in October 2018; an early Fran Kirby goal the difference as England saw multiple chances go begging.
This was the first meeting between the pair (kind of) since Team GB played Brazil at London 2012. Hope Powell's side recorded a famous 1-0 victory in front of a raucous home crowd, Steph Houghton popping up with the winner.
Despite shining at the World Cup, England have disappointed since their return from France. They were sloppy defensively in a 3-3 draw with Belgium, before suffering a 2-1 defeat against Norway the following week, where once again questionable defending was the theme. They are without a win in four outings; their longest winless run since Phil Neville took charge.
Brazil's first fixtures of the Pia Sundhage tenure were at the annual invitational Internacional de Futebol Feminino tournament. They recorded a hugely impressive 5-0 win over Argentina, a side who frustrated England in the group stages of the World Cup, before losing the final to Chile on penalties.
Here's how each team has performed in their last five fixtures.
|Norway 2-1 England (3/9)||Brazil 0-0 Chile (1/9)|
|Belgium 3-3 England (29/8)||Brazil 5-0 Argentina (30/8)|
|England 1-2 Sweden (6/7)||France 2-1 Brazil (23/6)|
|England 1-2 USA (2/7)||Italy 0-1 Brazil (18/6)|
|Norway 0-3 England (27/6)||Australia 3-2 Brazil (13/6)|
England should come out on top, but they must eradicate the cheap defensive errors which have cost them in recent matches.