It was no Harry Kane, no party as England suffered their first defeat since the World Cup on Saturday night, courtesy of a late strike from Brazil’s new wonderkid Endrick.  

While Gareth Southgate’s first-choice XI are widely fancied to be crowned champions of Europe this summer, this performance suggests the Three Lions lack squad depth in many areas. 

Ollie Watkins was unconvincing as Kane’s understudy and an error from sub Lewis Dunk led to Brazil’s winner.  

This was also the Three Lions’ first home loss since the infamous 4-0 drubbing by Hungary at Molineux in 2022 and their first defeat at Wembley inside 90 minutes since 2020.

England don’t lose very often but then Kane doesn’t miss many England games. 

The nation’s all-time record goalscorer has 62 goals in 89 caps and also has the ability to drop deep and make things happen in a No10 role. 

The Bayern Munich man is two players in one and impossible for Southgate to replace. 

So while his current ankle injury is a minor one, the England chief will be desperate for there to be no repeat in Germany this summer.  

Jude Bellingham’s performance was patchy – he might have been sent off early on, but at times he showed neater feet than any Brazilian.

And of those auditioning for a place in the squad – Anthony Gordon, Conor Gallagher and Watkins – nobody made a cast-iron case for inclusion. 

Amid the culture war over a tiny cross on the back of the England shirt, the ‘woke’ FA displayed nine massive St George’s flags on the Wembley pitch before kick-off and as many servicemen as you’d expect to see paraded under your average military junta.

There was precious little anger around Wembley but precious little noise of any sort – it was a surprise that it took as long as half an hour for the first paper aeroplane. 

But while the atmosphere was virtually non-existent and the tempo was typical of a friendly, there was no lack of goalmouth incident.

An injury-hit Brazil side won the game thanks to their 17-year-old striker Endrick, who scored in the 80th-minute after coming on as a substitute.

It was an even game, England manager Gareth Southgate suggested in a press conference, as he made changes to his side with the upcoming European Championship in Germany in mind.

“I’m not down on the performance of the team,” the 53-year-old said. “The difference in the end was one moment, really… a couple of mistakes decided the game.”

England were missing some key players at Wembley, including injured captain Harry Kane who will also sit out their next friendly against Belgium on Tuesday. Generally pleased with the performance of his players, Southgate praised the debuts of Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo and Newcastle United’s Anthony Gordon. 

Although Ollie Watkins did not have a clear cut chance on goal, Southgate said he was happy with the Aston Villa striker’s contribution.

“We needed to know where we might head if we didn’t have Harry (Kane) for a big match,” he said.

“It was a good experiment,” Southgate added.

Bayern Munich striker Kane travelled to England last weekend to join up with the national team to be treated for an ankle injury he had suffered in a 5-2 Bundesliga win at Darmstadt. – The Sun

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