England 0-2 Sweden: Lionesses fall to defeat on Steph Houghton’s 100th appearance

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England lost 2-0 at home to Sweden in their last match of 2018.

The Lionesses came into this game on the back of a comfortable 3-0 win over Austria on Thursday but they suffered their second defeat under Phil Neville as they prepare for next year’s World Cup.

Sweden were on the front foot from the first minute with England struggling to deal with their attacking threat.

The Swedes, ninth in the Fifa women’s world rankings, took the lead in the 20th minute when Sofia Jakobsson curled an effort over Carly Telford after being given too much space outside the area.

Neville’s side tried to get back into the game but Sweden keeper Hedvig Lindahl kept England at bay.

Sweden nearly made it 2-0 when Caroline Seger headed against the woodwork from a corner. A minute later, from their next corner, Sweden got the second goal that their play deserved. Anna Anvegard scored her first senior international goal when she thumped home from a few yards out in a crowded penalty area after England failed to clear the corner. For both goals, England looked ponderous and laboured as Sweden reacted first.

England dominated the game with more possession and shots but the scoreline was the only result that mattered and Sweden came out on top.

Steph Houghton’s 100th cap had been preserved for this match after Neville left the captain out of the win against Austria so she could reach her century milestone on home soil.

Unfortunately, the day did not go as planned for Houghton but having been in football as long as she has, she will not have expected a win just because of the occasion. The buoyant crowd of 9,561 at Rotherham’s New York Stadium went home disappointed but this result could be just what England need to stop them from becoming complacent ahead of the World Cup next year.

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