In front of a 50,000 strong crowd, England played their final game of this tournament before heading home for a well deserved rest. What a country to be up against, the World number one team. Whatever happened at Parc des Princes, England were already Tournoi de France winners after their wins over Italy and France. Brazil were secured of second place but despite these issues being
settled, both teams were wanting to win. For England to beat the current World Cup holders would be an enormous feat, and the icing on the cake of two weeks of great play. Brazil would want to win because they were flying to Bolivia for the Copa America after the game, and here in France they have only managed draws so far. After being beaten by Norway too recently, a win is a must to regain their aura of supremacy.
With Paul Scholes having recovered from a hamstring injury, Hoddle included the 22 year old in the starting line, and Martin Keown came in to replace Gary Neville. There were two other changes, Ince took over from Batty and Sheringham for Wright.
At first impression it seemed as though England were going to struggle in the game. In the first few minutes England had conceded seven corners. They did however compose themselves and were able to create many good movements. Gascoigne made some good play and set the ball up for Ince. Ince's shot was terrific but Taffarel was able to stop it.
Phil Neville made an early appearance as a substitute. He replaced Keown who in the twentieth minute left the pitch, clearly in pain, after falling awkwardly and injuring his shoulder.
After being on the field for only two minutes, Phil Neville was involved in a collision with Denilson. This forced the Brazilians to make an early change too. Djalminha came on for Denilson.
England made good attacking play when Scholes found Shearer with a 50-yard ball, but Aldair stopped the England captain from making further progress. Then seven minutes before the break Ronaldo had a chance to score after beating Southgate but Seaman saved the shot with his legs.
With an entertaining first half coming to a close, it ended on a sour note when Shearer and Ronaldo were both booked. Ronaldo kicked Shearer after the Englishman had fouled the Brazilian. Luckily the incident deflated quickly.
The second half did not take off from where the first had ended unfortunately. England at times were unable to take the ball from the Brazilians as they passed the ball around. England did defend well throughout the game, but despite this Brazil scored on the hour mark. Seaman having made a couple of good saves,
one from Carlos who tried a hard shot four minutes into the second half, could not stop Romario. Leonardo created the goal when he went passed England's defence. He found Romario breaking on the left, passed it to him where Romario did the rest by brushing off Southgate, and finally tucking the ball passed a
diving Seaman into the far side of the net, after it connected with the post.
Although now behind, the England players kept their heads up and created a few opportunities for themselves. Lee and Wright were brought on with fifteen minutes remaining to give England some fresh legs, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to change the score.
The game billed as a contest between Shearer and Ronaldo by the media did not happen as both failed to make an impact.
Despite losing, England were certainly not disgraced. At times they played some good football. A victory over Brazil is being saved for next year's World Cup!!
Seaman, Ince, Southgate, Le Saux, Campbell, Gascoigne, Shearer, P Neville, Keown (G Neville 20 min), Sheringham (Wright 75 mins), Scholes (Lee 75 mins).
Taffarel, Cafei, Aldair, Carlos, Dunga, Ronaldo, Leonardo (Ze Roberto), Romario, Silva, Conceicao, Denilson (Djalminha 22 mins).
Brazil Scorer: Romario (60 mins)
England Cautions: Shearer, Campbell, Scholes
Brazil Cautions: Dunga, Ronaldo, Silva
Referee: T Rendon (Columbia)