England's disappointing post-World Cup form continued, as they were beaten 2-1 by Brazil at the Riverside Stadium.
England dominated the first half but were unable to break the deadlock. The Lionesses had the ball in the back of the net after Jodie Taylor met Beth Mead's wonderful delivery, only for her celebrations to be cut short by the assistant referee's flag.
Mead then came close to opening the scoring herself. The Arsenal forward picked up Steph Houghton's perfect cross field pass and showed great skill to worm her way past two Brazil defenders as she raced into the penalty area. However, she sent the ball just wide.
Taylor spurned a further chance when clean through as more England opportunities went begging.
Within five minutes of the second half getting underway, Brazil had the lead. Tamires sent Nikita Parris one way and then the other, and her floated cross was headed home by Debinha, Mary Earps fumbling the ball as it crawled over the line.
Debinha doubled her and Brazil's tally after her shot from inside the penalty area flicked off Houghton, sending the ball over the outstretched hand of Earps.
England grabbed a lifeline with 10 minutes remaining. Houghton's pinpoint cross from deep found Beth England, whose bullet header rocketed into the top corner for her first international goal. The Chelsea striker could have snatched an equaliser moments later, but her glancing header from a delightful Mead ball was too weak.
As the clocked ticked down, Lucy Staniforth was denied by a fantastic save from Bárbara as Brazil held onto an excellent win.
Key Talking Point
England went into the fixture without a win in four games; their longest winless run since the 2013 European Championships.
Although the Lionesses had disappointed in their previous two post World Cup friendlies, this was the first time Phil Neville's side had played on home turf since their semi-final showing in France. With 29,000 fans packed into the Riverside, the game had a celebratory, homecoming feel; the positivity generated by England's World Cup performances had not been punctured by the lacklustre displays against Belgium and Norway.
However, England were not at their best once more. Despite dominating large patches of the game and creating an assortment of chances, the Lionesses seemed to lack a cutting edge in the final third. England should have won this game based on their number of opportunities. But Brazil controlled the game for a 30 minute spell in the second half, and this was enough for them to leave with victory.
Subs: Daly (6); England (7); Staniforth (6).
Although, like most of the England team, she was guilty of being sloppy in possession at times, her charging runs and probing crosses caused Brazil plenty of problems.
bethany england and beth mead up front is a legendary duo in the making— amy (@amy6amy) October 5, 2019
Beth Mead is everywhere.. imagine not letting her start every game from now on.— Youssra #10 (@ShookbyDvD) October 5, 2019
Key Talking Point
Pia Sundhage was in the Brazil dugout for the third time, as she oversees a difficult transition period for the South American side.
Once considered one of the finest female football teams in the world, Brazil have been disappointing at major tournaments since the 2008 Olympics.
However, Sundhage boasts an enviable CV, having guided the USA and Sweden to multiple Olympic successes. Attracting a coach of Sundhage's pedigree suggests there is some untapped potential in this Brazil squad.
On today's evidence, Sundhage has definitely got the makings of a squad that can attempt to replicate the great Brazil side of the mid-naughties. They looked good on the counter attack, and were clinical where England were not.
Starting XI: Bárbara (8); Tamires (7) ; Erika (6); Kathellen (6); Giovanna (6); Debinha (8*); Formiga; Luana (8); Marta (6); Beatriz; Chu (5).
Subs: Maria-Alves (6); Ludmila; Monica (6); Moreno (6); da Silva (6); Victoria (6).
Debinha was solid defensively in the first half, keeping a dangerous Alex Greenwood quiet. She popped up in the right place at the right time in the second half to seal the win for Brazil.
Players of the Match? The crowd. Barbara. Debinha. Mead. Whaddya think?— Jen O'Neill (@SheKicksdotnet) October 5, 2019
England travel to Portugal on Tuesday, whilst Brazil face Poland. England then welcome Germany to Wembley in November. With over 70,000 tickets sold, the international attendance record for a women's football match in the UK is set to be broken.
Both countries focus in on next summer's Olympics. With only 18 players able to make the plane to Tokyo, Phil Neville and Pia Sundhage will have to be ruthless with their team selection. Today's game will give them both plenty to ponder.