England Wins Finalissima in Penalties
The first-ever women’s Finalissima delivered a game full of intense back-and-forth action that ended in penalty kicks in front of 83,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. Even without Millie Bright, the Lionesses walked away with the win, their 30-game unbeaten streak intact. The Brazilians were down a few key players as well, with Marta and Debinha missing from the lineup.
The Lionesses struck first, with Ella Toone finding the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute. The English had been knocking on the door for a while, with several perfectly weighted balls making their way into the box. The first half was all England, with them dominating the game with 70% of possession. Brazil had several strong charges, with the English looking the shakiest in moments of transition. But they were stopped short by combined efforts of England’s backline, including several bright moments from Jess Carter, Leah Williamson, and Mary Earps. They almost had a second goal off a Lauren James banger, but it was ruled offside.
The second half was more evenly dispersed, with both sides seeing strong chances again. Brazil pressed harder this half, forcing Earps to make several impressive saves with shots from Andressa and Geyse. England almost put the game away again, but Lelê came out to make an impressive save against a Georgia Stanway strike. It was during the five minutes of stoppage time when Brazil finally equalized, with Earps struggling to get control of a ball that Andressa sent to the back of the net.
With England unable to find a response to the equalizer in the last few moments of the game, the match went straight to penalty kicks. Stanway scored her shot first with Adriana following up behind to keep it tied. Toone missed hers, but Earps made up for it with a spectacular save against Tamires. Rachel Daly buried her shot, and the tension was at its highest when Rafaelle’s shot pinged off the crossbar. Alex Greenwood and Kerolin Nicoli both made their shots, with England still up by one when Chloe Kelly stepped up. She nailed it, bringing home the win for England.
Both sides looked threatening throughout the match, with each having its moments. But the Lionesses came out on top, perpetuating their success. Although they need to be wary of keeping their energy up for the entire 90 minutes — Brazil started the second half on a much better foot, with England sometimes left scrambling to catch up. Both squads are looking exceptional heading into the summer, promising that this World Cup will be one of the greatest of all time. With the World Cup just around the corner, the Lionesses are one of the favorites to win the tournament and today’s game proved they’re more than capable.