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

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas