England lose out in final SheBelieves game

England lose out in final SheBelieves game

12 March 2020 / 00:12

Phil Neville was left frustrated after England's SheBelieves Cup defence came to an end as they were beaten 1-0 by Spain at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

The Lionesses failed to capitalise on a dominant first-half performance as they rued missed chances from Nikita Parris and Ellen White.

Alexia Putellas headed home for Spain in the 83rd minute to seal victory for Jorge Vilda’s side and inflict England’s seventh defeat in 11 games.

Neville, who will take charge of the Great Britain squad at the Tokyo Olympics, was irritated by the fact his side put in better first-half showing but left a lot to be desired after the break. 

“I’m frustrated, I’m a bit angry," Neville said. "It’s not good enough the second half performance.

"We started playing standstill football. I thought first half we controlled the game. In the last five minutes I thought we showed some urgency for the first time in the second half. 

"I’m not going to hide behind the fact this was a tournament where we wanted to experiment with younger players and they’ve come in and done really well, but ultimately we’ll be judged on our results and I don’t think our results have been good enough."

Neville made eight changes to the side that recorded a 1-0 victory over Japan.

White returned to the starting line-up, Lauren Hemp was ruled out through illness and Steph Houghton was rested giving Abbie McManus her first involvement in the tournament.

Toni Duggan started an England match for the first time in seven months while Nikita Parris made her 50th appearance for the national side.

Ten minutes into the game and Parris had a first opportunity when she ran at Leila Ouahabi but her effort went wide of the post.

Soon after Jill Scott played in White, who looked to hit the target, but her shot blazed over the bar.

The Lionesses soon had their best chance of the first half when Jordan Nobbs put a delightful cross into the box, but it was missed by White and Parris couldn’t net the rebound.

Neville’s side put sustained pressure on the Spanish goal, after Vilda’s team continued to play out from the back but the sides couldn’t be separated at the break.

There were changes a plenty in the second half, Houghton came onto the pitch to replace Millie Bright while Spain made three of their own.

The Lionesses found themselves under pressure as Spain grew into the game and they had their best chance when Ainhoa Moraza sprinted past McManus and turned Houghton but Carly Telford came to the rescue.

Wave after wave of attacking flair came from Spain with Virginia Torrecilla’s long long-range effort dipping just over the crossbar.

Chloe Kelly came onto the pitch and provided a spark for the Lionesses, creating chances and shooting into the side-netting twice.

But it was defending the set piece that let down Neville’s side once more as Putellas was given too much space in the box and scored a bullet header into the top corner.

Sportsbeat 2020