Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Women’s Euro 2025 qualifying: England have work to do after ‘unnecessary’ France defeat

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Wiegman believes England’s performance was better than the level they showed against Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.

But they were still far from convincing.

With both Millie Bright and Leah Williamson available to play together for the first time since February 2023, Wiegman opted for them as a centre-back pairing, leaving in-form Manchester City defender Alex Greenwood on the bench.

Bright’s lack of match sharpness was evident as France’s pacy forwards threatened, while England’s backline were undone by two set-pieces on the night.

Their concerns were made worse through an early injury to goalkeeper Mary Earps – forced off with a hip problem minutes into her 50th appearance for England.

The Lionesses took the lead through Beth Mead but France responded well and were rewarded when volleys from Elisa de Almeida and Marie-Antoinette Katoto beat substitute goalkeeper Hannah Hampton.

“It is very disappointing. We should have won the game,” added Wiegman.

“No matter how good the goals were, you have a chance to stop it. The first one was fantastic and so was the second. We definitely need to tighten up on second balls.”

Wiegman was asked about her decision to leave out Greenwood, particularly with four right-footed defenders starting.

“Of course it’s ideal to have a left-footer too, Millie [Bright] can play with her left foot on the right side, Leah [Williamson] is pretty comfortable on the left side,” said Wiegman.

“That was also a consideration for this game. Alex is a good defender, she has done very well over the last period.

“Today, I chose Millie and Leah. That defence, I thought we needed in the centre because of the qualities of France. They’re very pacy, very powerful. I think that was the right decision.”

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