The England ladies lost 1-0 in their final group game of the SheBelieves Cup against the USA on Thursday morning, to hand their opponents the trophy. Here is a full roundup of the tournament.
The US-based tournament has taken place annually since it began in 2016, with fellow international teams England, Germany and France invited to compete. The tournament was won by France last year, with Germany finishing as runners-up.
Phil Neville took charge of the Lionesses for the first time last week in their opening group game of the competition, where they pummeled France 4-1 to surge to the top of the group.
Although the level of England’s performance was impressive, it was their clinical instinct in front of goal that ensured that they had the win wrapped up early. Neville’s side went in 3-0 up at the break, courtesy of goals from Toni Duggan, Jill Scott and Jodie Taylor.
The WSL 1’s top scorer, Fran Kirby, added a fourth in the second half to see off their opponents before Gaetane Thiney then grabbed a consolation for France.
The other opening match of the tournament saw the two best-ranked teams in international football go head to head, in the USA and Germany. The match was very closely contested throughout, but a Megan Rapinoe strike secured a 1-0 win for the USA to ensure they got off to a good start.
The Lionesses faced Germany in their second group match on Sunday night, which ended in a 2-2 draw after England twice came from behind.
Neville’s side went a goal down just 17 minutes into the contest before Ellen White fortuitously hit back with an equaliser straight from the kick-off, after Fara Williams’ long-range strike deflected in off the forward.
Germany regained the lead once more just after half-time when goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain’s clearance bounced back off the heel of Millie Bright and into her own net. Ellen White then scored her second goal of the game with less than 20 minutes left on the clock, to secure an encouraging point for England.
The French Ladies put in a gutsy performance against the USA, to keep the world champions at bay and secure their first point of the competition. Mallory Pugh gave the hosts the advantage before Eugenie Le Sommer immediately hit back for France to level the score.
The final matches of the tournament saw the top two in the group – England and the USA – face off for the championship title. The Lionesses just needed a draw – given their superior goal difference, while the USA had to win.
The first half was a cagey affair with both sides not wanting to give up much to their opponents, leading to the score being all square at the break.
Neville was condemned to his first defeat as England manager when his side conceded another unfortunate, yet sloppy own goal – which the Lionesses have fallen foul of on numerous occasions in recent years. The three points for the hosts meant that they leapfrogged England into first place and were crowned champions of the SheBelieves Cup for the second time.
Elsewhere, France defeated Germany 3-0 to assure that they would finish in third place and leave the German’s as the only team without a victory in the competition. The French goals came from Amandine Henry, Eugenie Le Sommer and Valerie Gauvin.
Although the Lionesses will be disappointed to have just narrowly missed out on the title – they can be proud of their performances in the tournament and the early steps they have made under Phil Neville’s management.