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Women's Finalissima 2023: Meet England and Brazil

Get the lowdown on England and Brazil ahead of their April Wembley showdown.

UEFA/CONMEBOL

England will take on Brazil in the first Women's Finalissima at Wembley at 19:45 local time (20:45 CET) on 6 April: we introduce the contenders.

What is the Women's Finalissima?

The meeting of Women's EURO winners England and Copa América Femenina champions Brazil is part of the expansion of the cooperation between UEFA and CONMEBOL, which notably includes women's football, futsal and youth categories, the exchange of referees, and technical training schemes. There has already been a men's Finalissima (won by Argentina at Wembley), a Futsal Finalissima (won by Portugal in Buenos Aires), and an Under-20 Intercontinental Cup (won by Benfica in Montevideo).

ENGLAND

World Cup best: third place (2015)
EURO best: winners (2022)

How they became 2022 European champions

Group A: winners
06/07: England 1-0 Austria (Mead 16)
11/07: England 8-0 Norway (Stanway 12p, Hemp 15, White 29 41, Mead 34 38 81, Russo 66)
15/07: Northern Ireland 0-5 England (Kirby 41, Mead 45, Russo 48 53, Burrows 76og)

Quarter-finals
20/07: England 2-1aet Spain (Toone 84, Stanway 96; Esther 54)

Semi-finals
26/07: England 4-0 Sweden (Mead 34, Bronze 48, Russo 68, Kirby 76)

Final
31/07: England 2-1aet Germany (Toone 62, Kelly 110; Magull 79)

Watch every England goal on their road to Women's EURO glory

Coach: Sarina Wiegman

Appearing more than 100 times for the Netherlands between 1987 and 2001, Wiegman became coach of ADO Den Haag in 2007, winning the Dutch double in 2011/12 and KNVB Cup a year later. In 2014, she was appointed Netherlands assistant coach, and she had a brief spell in caretaker charge in 2015 before taking over the helm permanently at the start of 2017.

That was just a few months ahead of hosting UEFA Women's EURO 2017, which the Netherlands ended up winning for the first time. Two years later, they showed it was no fluke as Wiegman's side reached the FIFA Women's World Cup final, losing to the United States

In 2020, the hosts of the next Women's EURO, England, announced Wiegman would take over as their coach following the 2021 Olympics (where the Netherlands reached the quarter-finals). Wiegman had a spectacular first season as England boss, her team scoring more than 100 goals and claiming their first major title with the Women's EURO triumph at Wembley (making Wiegman the first coach to win the tournament in charge of two different nations).

Wiegman, known for her attacking style, was named FIFA women's coach of the year in 2017 and 2020 and took UEFA's award in 2021/22.

Women's EURO final highlights: England 2-1 Germany

Key player: Beth Mead

Forward Mead helped England reach the 2013 UEFA Women's U19 EURO final in Wales and had a prolific record for Sunderland before joining Arsenal in 2017, where she has thrived in a wide role supporting Vivianne Miedema.

Her senior England debut came in April 2018 and Mead had a key role in the run to the 2019 World Cup semi-finals, where she got three assists. After a spell on the fringes, she was made an integral part of the team when Wiegman took over in September 2021.

In the 2021/22 season, usually operating on the right of a front three, she scored an England record 20 goals in 19 games, became the first woman to score a hat-trick at Wembley, and spearheaded the home Women's EURO triumph. Mead ended the finals as top scorer with a joint-record six goals and five assists, and was named Player of the Tournament. In 2023 World Cup qualifying, she finished with 13 goals and 12 assists.

Key stats

  • England's 22 goals at Women's EURO 2022 broke the single-tournament record set in 2009 by Germany (when the Lionesses were EURO runners-up for the second time, having also taken silver at the inaugural 1984 edition).
  • Not only did Mead equal the record of six goals at a Women's EURO (shared with Inka Grings in 2009 and Alex Popp in 2022), but Alessia Russo posted a new best of four as a substitute.
  • The 87,192 crowd for the Women's EURO 2022 final was a new best for a female international in Europe, and the highest for any men's or women's EURO finals match. They have also twice attracted crowds of 75,000+ for Wembley friendlies.

BRAZIL

World Cup best: runners-up (2007)
Copa América best: winners (1991, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022)

How they became 2022 South American champions

Group B: winners
09/07: Brazil 4-0 Argentina (Adriana 28 58, Bia 36p, Debinha 87)
12/07: Uruguay 0-3 Brazil (Adriana 32 48, Debinha 45+2)
18/07: Venezuela 0-4 Brazil (Bia 22, Ary Borges 51, Debinha 58 65)
21/07: Brazil 6-0 Peru (Duda 1, Duda Sampaio 17, Geyse 41, Duda Santos 44p, Fe Palermo 48, Adriana 50p)

Semi-finals
26/07: Brazil 2-0 Paraguay (Ary Borges 16, Bia 28)

Final
30/07: Colombia 0-1 Brazil (Debinha 39p)

Coach: Pia Sundhage

The Sweden forward was one of the game's greats as a player, not least when she converted the decisive penalty to win the first Women's EURO in 1984 against England in Luton. In all, she got 71 goals in 146 international appearances, and was the first woman to score at Wembley in a 2-0 friendly win against England in 1989. She also helped Jitex win four Swedish titles.

Sundhage was Hammarby player-coach from 1992 to 1994 and worked as an assistant at Vallentuna, AIK and Philadelphia Charge, before taking the helm of Boston Breakers in 2003 and topping the WUSA regular-season table. After spells with Kolbotn and Örebro, Sundhage served as assistant to Marika Domanski-Lyfors with 2007 World Cup hosts China.

Later that year, Sundhage became coach of the United States and went on to win the Olympic tournaments of 2008 and 2012, also reaching the 2011 World Cup final. At the end of 2012 (when she was named FIFA coach of the year), Sundhage took charge of her native Sweden and helped them to the Women's EURO 2013 semis as hosts, and then 2016 Olympic silver.

Sundhage moved on to become Sweden U17 coach in 2018 and the following year took command of Brazil, winning the 2022 Copa América.

Key player: Debinha

While all-time great Marta remains available, she is far from the only top star at Sundhage's disposal. Part of the team since 2011, Debinha has now surged past 125 caps and 50 goals, asserting herself as one of the most exciting forwards to watch in the world, with a work rate to match.

Debinha has helped Brazil win two Copa América titles, scoring three goals in 2018 and five in 2022, when she notably buried the penalty that decided the final against Colombia.

At club level, her career has taken her to Norway – where she was the 2014 Toppserien top scorer with Avaldsnes – China and, since 2017, North Carolina Courage in the United States. She has helped them claim two championship titles, three NWSL Shields (for topping the regular-season table) and the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup, also collecting a string of MVP awards in big games.

Key stats

  • Brazil have won eight of the nine editions of the Copa América, only missing out in 2006 after losing the final 2-0 to hosts Argentina.
  • In 2023, they will keep up their record of appearing at every World Cup final tournament (this will be the ninth). They have also featured at every Olympic women's football tournament (only matched by the US and Sweden), taking silver in 2004 and 2008.
  • In 2022, they became the first team to triumph at the Copa América Femenina without conceding a goal, and for the second straight tournament won all their fixtures.