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Endrick makes history as Brazil beat England to launch new era

By AFP

March 24, 2024 09:10 AM


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Brazil's new boss Dorival Junior started his bid to revive the five-time world champions with a 1-0 win against England as teenage sensation Endrick bagged his first international goal in Saturday's friendly at Wembley.

Coming off their worst period for over 60 years, Brazil hope Dorival Junior can trigger a revival in time to challenge for the 2026 World Cup.

This was a first significant step in the right direction for the Selecao, who marked their manager's debut with victory against an England side expected to make a strong challenge to win Euro 2024.

On a cathartic evening for Brazil after their wretched 2023, it was fitting the highly-rated Endrick bagged Brazil's late winner.

The Palmeiras forward, due to join Real Madrid in July, has been tipped to succeed Neymar as Brazil's latest superstar and his match-winning cameo appearance off the bench was a suitable coming of age moment in his third appearance.

Endrick stole the spotlight in the 80th minute when the teenager tapped in, defying England's appeals for offside after Vinicius Junior's shot was saved by Jordan Pickford.

Aged 17 years and 246 days, Endrick is the youngest senior international goal-scorer at Wembley.

He is also the youngest player to score for Brazil since Ronaldo in 1994.

Endrick's emergence is a breath of fresh air for Brazil after an unusually stale period for the Selecao.

Snubbed by Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti and frustrated by the failings of two caretaker managers, Dorival Junior has been tasked with ensuring Brazil qualify for the World Cup.

The 61-year-old left Sao Paolo to take charge of Brazil in January, moving into world football's most scrutinised job at a time when his country had just finished a calender year with more defeats (five) than wins (three) for the first time since 1963.

Beaten in three consecutive World Cup qualifiers for the first time ever, Brazil face a nervous fight to qualify for the 2026 tournament.

But in the dynamic display of Vinicius Junior, the emergence of Endrick and the combative performances of his team-mates, Brazil have cause for optimism at last.

England boss Gareth Southgate was impressed with the new Brazil, saying: "The difference was one moment of ruthlessness.

"In the attacking third they have players of the very highest quality. The midfield three are all technical players as well.

"They have got some fabulous forwards and you have to defend well. Endrick has finished off their goal. It's a good moment for him."

 

- Spluttering England -

 

Brazil will aim to build on the momentum from their first win over England since 2009 in another friendly against Spain on Tuesday.

England's spluttering performance featured few highlights, although Southgate will have been encouraged by a lively debut from Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon.

England were wearing their controversial new home shirt for the first time after criticism of manufacturer Nike's decision to change the colour of the St George's Cross on the kit.

The debate about the shirt will soon be forgotten, but Southgate won't have fond memories of its debut as England lost at home for the first time in 21 games.

Southgate opted for Ollie Watkins instead of Ivan Toney as England's central striker, with Harry Kane not risked due to an ankle injury.

But Watkins did little to suggest he could shoulder the burden if Kane were to be injured at the Euros.

Adding to Southgate's problems, England's stand-in captain Kyle Walker was forced off with a hamstring injury.

"He is feeling something. We just have to assess it over the next couple of days," Southgate said.

Belgium's friendly visit to Wembley on Tuesday represents the last chance for England's fringe players to impress before Southgate names his Euro squad.

"I'm not down on the performance at all. Clearly I don't like losing but I thought there were lots of very good performances from players who have hardly played for England," said Southgate, who revealed Kane will not be fit for the Belgium game.


AFP


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