Why defeat against Sweden could be the wake-up call England need


Match Report – England 0 : 2 Sweden

The 2-0 defeat against Sweden was the second that England have suffered this year in 12 games under Phil Neville. In 2018, the Lionesses have come second in the SheBelieves Cup and qualified for the Women’s World Cup in what has been a successful year overall.

Losing to Sweden in their last game of the year meant that England ended 2018 on a disappointing note. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. England have had a great year but a tough test at the end could be just what they need.

Before the match against Sweden, England had barely been challenged. They topped their Women’s World Cup group with seven wins from eight games, only drawing against Wales as they cruised to qualification.

Defeat against Sweden could encourage Neville to shake up the defence and ramp up competition for places, perhaps giving more caps to young defenders like Leah Williamson, Hannah Blundell, Abbie McManus and Gabby George who played in the 3-0 win against Austria and kept a clean sheet.

“Sometimes in life you have got to put yourself through a little bit of pain to get where you want to,” head coach Neville told BBC Sport.

“For the last 12 months everything has been going really smoothly and there’s a massive euphoria, and rightly so. But along the way, you’re going to get bumps. This feels like a bump in the road, and a jolt for us.

“Today was what we needed. I do think that we needed it, the whole of the FA women’s division.

“It’s just a little bump in the road to remind everyone that no one is going to just give us the World Cup. We’ve got to keep working hard.”

England lacked ideas in attack without forward Fran Kirby as Izzy Christiansen, Nikita Parris, Jordan Nobbs, Toni Duggan and Beth Mead all tried and failed to get past the Sweden defence.

It is worth remembering that the Lionesses are without Jodie Taylor, Ellen White, Danielle Carter, brilliant strikers who add something different to the team.

The draw for the Women’s World Cup takes place on December 8 in Paris. The tournament is going to be held in France between June 7 and July 7 2019.

Phil Neville will be hoping to go further than the Lionesses did last time when they finished third in Canada in 2015 and the lessons he learned from this game will give him plenty of food for thought ahead of the tournament.


About Author

Comments are closed.