2019 SheBelieves Cup Recap: A pair of second-half goals give England the win
Nikita Parris plays the ball past the outstretched foot of Jucinara in the first match of the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. | Photo: Bill Streicher - USA Today Sports

England topped Brazil 2-1 in the first match of the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. The win showed a great deal of persistence from the English side that struggled throughout the first 45 minutes of the match. Brazil played clean, crisp soccer during the first half before collapsing in the second. Both teams will have areas to focus on improving in their upcoming matches.

Brazil control the first half of the match

The game started out with Brazil firmly on the front foot. In the 15th minute, Brazilian superstar Marta forced a turnover in England's half of the field. She controlled the ball and outran the English defense all the way to the 18-yard box. Marta pulled the ball back expertly and let a defender slide past her, but when she started the push toward the goal she collided with Lucy Bronze of England. Bronze got some of the ball, but she went through Marta's body to get there and the head ref blew the whistle and pointed to the spot. Andressa took a cracking penalty and gave Brazil a one-goal lead in the 17th minute. 

Marta wins the ball and pushes forward to earn a penalty kick for Brazil. | Photo: AP - Chris Szagola
Marta wins the ball and pushes forward to earn a penalty kick for Brazil. | Photo: AP - Chris Szagola

The rest of the first half saw a resurgence from England, but they weren't able to capitalize on a few good chances around the 30-minute mark. Brazil was forced to make an early substitution due to an injury to Ludmila, and she was replaced by Debinha. It looked like England would be forced to make a substitution late in the first half when Nikita Parris rolled her ankle and had to be taken off, but she returned to the pitch before the halftime whistle blew.

England score two in the second half to get the win

England leveled the game just four minutes into the second half. A quick throw in was followed by three quick English passes before Fran Kirby played a perfect pass in to Ellen White in the Brazilian penalty box. White took a shot as she slid to the ground that curled just past the outstretched hands of the Brazilian goalkeeper and into the side netting. 

Apart from a few quick counter attacking opportunities, England stayed on offense for much of the next 40 minutes. In the 75th minute, England secured a strong offensive opportunity after they beat the high defensive line of Brazil. Beth Mead took the ball down the right side as the defense retreated toward the center of the box to mark the runners crashing in on goal. Mead took a shot - or maybe it was an attempted cross - from the far right side of the box that caught the keeper off guard and gave England a 2-1 lead.

The game would end 2-1, with England finishing the first game of the tournament at the top of the table. England will take on the United States on Saturday while Brazil will face off against Japan