Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Wiegman rues set-pieces as Lionesses beaten by France

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Jun 2024

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Sarina Wiegman rued England’s sloppyness from set-pieces, as the Lionesses’ Euro 2025 qualifying hopes were dented by a 2-1 defeat to France.

England suffered their first home defeat in a qualifying match since October 2002 with Les Bleues – ironically the last nation to inflict such a loss – coming from behind to prevail at St James’ Park.

The reigning European champions had the opportunity to leapfrog France to the Group A3 summit and, despite losing goalkeeper Mary Earps to injury early on, the hosts appeared on course to do just that when Beth Mead opened the scoring after half an hour.

However, they were undone by set-pieces in both halves, as goals from Elisa De Almeida and Marie-Antoinette Katoto completed the turnaround in the visitors’ favour.

The Lionesses, who travel to Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for the return meeting on Tuesday, slip to third place in Group A3. And though Wiegman hailed the overall performance, she acknowledged her side must improve.

“It was frustrating,” she told ITV Sport. “I think we played pretty well, we conceded two goals from set plays, which we have to do a lot better on.

“In these matches, you don’t get too many chances. In the first half, we created multiple, but only scored one – and they unfortunately scored one too.

“We were more on the ball in the second half without creating too many more chances, but we were dangerous. The final pass needed to be better.

“We know France are really good at set-pieces. Of course, we were prepared, but they still got that time.”

Skipper Leah Williamson added: “[We’re] really disappointed, the game was there to be won. It was a fantastic occasion. The fans have never let us down, so it’s a shame not to give them a win as well.

“We played well, not good enough to win the game, but the chances were there to win it. Two set-pieces have killed us. There’s an element of luck to those things, but first contact and second contact need to be better. We will be better on Tuesday.”

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