LINKOPING, Sweden — England had to win on Thursday night against France and they simply could not compete with their opponent, losing 3-0 to Les Bleues to crash out of Euro 2013. A win would have earned England a trip to the quarterfinal, however France dominated the match.
The French team had already secured a trip to the quarterfinals, but they came out on top and sent the Lionesses back to England after a convincing battering in front of a sellout crowd of 7,332 fans. France scored an early goal from Eugenie Le Sommer, and added a pair of second half tallies from Louisa Necib, and Wendie Renard.
Camille Abily was rested by Coach Bruni Bini and did not find the pitch against England until halftime. She was quite happy with her team’s performance after the match.
“It was good because we won 3-0. It was very important because we wanted to win this game, and we did want we wanted to do.”
France took control of the match from the first kick. England competed, and looked ready to play, however the talent alone on France was just too strong for England to keep up. Le Sommer hammered the ball off the post on seven minutes, and two minutes later she made England pay for their sloppy defensive coverage. Le Sommer scored, as England were too slow to clear the ball.
France rested Marie-Laure Delie and Laura Georges and still looked like a powerhouse on the pitch. They created time, and space and did whatever they wanted to do. England weren’t able to keep up and France controlled the run of play for the entire match.
Everyone who has followed England at Euro 2013 have been shocked by what they have put forth on the pitch, and that includes some of their opponents. Abily was surprised at how poorly England played tonight.
“I don’t want to mean about England but I was surprised,” she said. “I thought they would be a little bit better. I think they have very good players and I don’t know why it didn’t work today.”
England could not muster up any opportunities to score in the first half. As soon as England got the ball back, a France player was right there to steal it back for Les Bleues. England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley was the only reason why France were not up by three or four at halftime.
Hope Powell made a substitution to start the second half as she brought on Jill Scott for Anita Asante. It wasn’t until the 60th minute when Powell called Kelly Smith’s number. The all-time England leading scorer has been bothered by a left tibia injury and has stated this may be her final tournament for her country. Smith was unable to rescue England on this night. Captain Casey Stoney was taking full responsibility for the lack of results by England at this tournament.
“I’m absolutely gutted, devastated, and disappointed. The first person I always look to is myself,” she said. “I’m captain of this team and we haven’t turned up for this tournament so what can I do better as a captain, what can we do better as a team. I don’t think it’s for lack of effort. I certainly felt like I gave absolutely everything I had to give tonight.”
In the 62nd minute, Necib — celebrating her 100th cap — scored a screamer from just inside the England box. Necib turned her defender inside-out and fired a bullet to the top left corner. Bardsley had no chance to come up with a save. Moments later the French spectators had another goal to celebrate when center back Renard headed home a Necib corner kick. France stepped up their game and capitalized on their opportunities while England could barely gain the ball back.
France pushed forth and even stronger effort on the ball in the final forty-five minutes. England were no match for France, and they continued to under perform on the pitch just as they did against Spain, and Russia in earlier disappointing results. Ellen White wasn’t holding back in the mixed zone after the match.
“I’m really disappointed to be honest,” said England forward Ellen White. “We haven’t preformed to our capability that we know we can, and we can’t put a finger on what we did.”
With the loss, Powell’s future remains in the balance, a future players would not comment on postgame.
Luck of the draw
In Group C’s other game, Spain and Russia tied 1-1, sending Spain through as second-place finishers in the group and leaving Russia to the luck of the draw…literally. An hour after the match, Russia lost the drawing of lots to Denmark, who now advance and face France
Knockout schedule (all times CET)
21 July: Sweden v Iceland (QF1, Halmstad, 15.00)
21 July: Italy v Germany (QF4, Vaxjo, 18.00)
22 July: Norway v Spain (QF2, Kalmar, 18.00)
22 July: France v Denmark (QF3, Linkoping, 20.45)
24 July: QF1 v QF4 (SF1, Gothenburg, 20.30)
25 July: QF2 v QF3 (SF2, Norrkoping, 20.30)
28 July: SF1 v SF2 (Solna, 16.00)
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