England reined in by Romario

England 0 Brazil 1

England can be congratulated for earning the right to joust with the best but last night they discovered that they still have some way to go to match them.

While the figures in the Tournoi de France table shows them to be the leading team, the tournament's football told a different tale. That impression was confirmed on a humid Parisian night as Romario's 61st-minute goal brought Brazil a victory which was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.

There were plusses for England, notably in the way Sol Campbell shackled Ronaldo as effectively as anyone has this season. They also lifted the trophy but it was appropriate that, as Alan Shearer went up to collect it, the samba drums drowned out the sound of "Football's coming home".

Brazil had paid England the compliment of fielding their strongest team and, though some of them may have been tired after Sunday's epic 3-3 draw with Italy it made for a daunting return to the Parc des Princes for David Seaman. The Arsenal goalkeeper was last seen here just over two years ago, tangled in his net after being lobbed from the half-way line by Nayim in the last minute of the European Cup-Winners' Cup final.

England were also near full strength with Paul Scholes fit to replace the suspended David Beckham and Martin Keown coming in for Gary Neville as a marking defender. The experiment only lasted 19 minutes before Leonardo bundled Keown over and the Arsenal defender landed awkwardly. He was taken straight to hospital where it was confirmed that he had suffered a broken arm.

Hoddle had had a chance to assess the change because England had already had plenty of defending to do. Brazil won seven corners in the first six minutes with England looking insecure on the flanks against Cafu and Roberto Carlos.

The best chance came, however, from a hopeful long ball, Keown could only backhead it and Gareth Southgate's miskick went straight to Ronaldo. Not the ideal person to present with a free run on goal and Southgate was grateful to Sol Campbell who got back well to tackle. Campbell underlined his form with a telling interception on Leonardo a few minutes later.

Though Brazil were the better side England had their moments. Scholes released Shearer with a marvellous outside-of-the-boot ball and Paul Gascoigne showed a couple of Brazilian- esque touches with his dribbling. There was also a neat backheel which set up Paul Ince for England's first shot, a 25-yarder which Taffarel clawed wide.

For all Brazil's pressure Seaman was not troubled until the 29th minute. Leonardo had just shot over when Romario broke through and rounded Ince to find Seaman smothering the ball as he looked to shoot. Seaman saved again from Ronaldo after Southgate had hesitated but it was an isolated break. England were defending in numbers in the centre but the Brazilians, never ones to shirk a challenge, simply redoubled their efforts to dribble through the middle.

They failed and, as Shearer and Dunga each shot over from free-kicks the game gradually lost its edge. The one moment of pre-interval excitement was somewhat unexpected as Shearer and Ronaldo tangled by the touchline and the Colombian referee showed the pair - combined value pounds 40m - a yellow card each.

Scholes and Dunga were booked for a similar contretemps soon after the break but, within a few minutes Seaman had to parry over a Roberto Carlos free-kick as the game resumed its pattern of Brazilian pressure and English defence.

Leonardo, playing on his home club ground, was the catalyst, combining well with Djalminha who had replaced the injured Denilson. Seaman made an inspired save from one Djalminha effort, which came after Cafu and Ronaldo had opened England up.

The pressure was bound to tell and, as the game entered its third segment, Brazil scored. Flavio Conceicao bypassed Gascoigne in finding Leonardo; he slipped a pass to Romario who ghosted round Gary Neville and tucked the ball past Seaman off the inside of the far post.

As the game opened up, Campbell was booked for bringing down Ronaldo and Aldair for blocking Ince as he was bursting through. Glenn Hoddle, seeking to freshen England's attack, introduced Rob Lee and Ian Wright but, if the service forward was not going to improve it would make no difference.

Lee livened things up and England did test Taffarel through a Phil Neville shot. But they never looked like overturning Brazil's superiority and the world champions indulged in a prolonged bout of keep-ball at the end to prove it. To their credit England looked suitably sheepish when they had to pose and parade with their trophy as "We are the Champions" rang out and the Brazilians looked on.

ENGLAND (3-5-3): Seaman (Arsenal); Keown (Arsenal), Southgate (Aston Villa), Campbell (Tottenham Hotspur); P Neville (Manchester United), Gascoigne (Rangers), Ince (Internazionale), Scholes (Manchester United), Le Saux (Blackburn Rovers); Sheringham (Tottenham Hotspur), Shearer (Newcastle United). Substitutes: G Neville (Manchester United) for Keown, 19; Lee (Newcastle United) for Scholes, 74; Wright (Arsenal) for Sheringham, 74.

BRAZIL (2-4-2-2): Taffarel (Atletico Mineiro); Celio Silva (Corinthians), Aldair (Roma); Cafu (Palmeiras), Flavio Conceicao (Deportivo La Coruna), Dunga (Jubilo Iwata), Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid); Leonardo (Paris St- Germain), Denilson (Sao Paulo); Ronaldo (Barcelona), Romario (Flamengo). Substitutes: Djalminha (Palmeiras) for Denilson, 20; Ze Roberto (Real Madrid) for Leonhardo, 82

Referee: J Toro Rendon (Colombia).

Babbel criticises United, page 31

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on pottermore site this morning

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Early Years Teacher - Jan 2015 - China

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Early Years TeacherRequired: J...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Primary Teachers required - Cardiff and the Vale

£95 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: KS1 ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes