Defensive mistakes cost England in friendly defeat against Canadaon April 13, 2021 at 9:08 pm

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England suffer a second friendly defeat in the space of four days with two defensive mistakes contributing to a 2-0 loss to Canada.

Nichelle Prince doubled Canada’s lead when she blocked goalkeeper Karen Bardsley’s clearance on the goalline.

“We tried and held together as a team but I feel like it was more about mistakes today,” said Riise.

“I felt the team effort was good. We did well but we didn’t create enough chances.”

England contribute to their own downfall

England impressed going forward against France on Friday but were undone by loose defensive play, and it was a repeat showing here as two terrible mistakes led directly to both goals.

For the opener, Janine Beckie had far too much space to drive forward from midfield and although Viens was in an offside position when she attempted to run on to her pass, Stokes managed to intercept before gifting the ball straight to the Paris FC forward to side-foot the ball past Carly Telford.

The second mistake was even worse. Millie Bright knocked a backpass to Bardsley, who opted to take a touch despite being virtually on her goalline, with Prince rushing in to block her attempted clearance into the net.

Either side of those goals England looked bright going forward, but lacked the cutting edge in the penalty area.

They responded positively to going behind and came close to an immediate leveller when Georgia Stanway fizzed a long-range effort narrowly wide.

Jordan Nobbs then had a free-kick tipped onto the crossbar by Stephanie Labbe.

Lauren Hemp, who did well as a substitute against France, impressed from the start here and created a chance for Beth England, but she sliced her effort wide.

Hemp had the best chance of the second half when she went on a marauding run into the area, but saw her effort superbly blocked by Vanessa Gilles.

More questions than answers for Riise

Hege Riise made six changes from the side that was beaten by France on Friday and made six substitutions to ensure the majority of her 26-player squad saw some action over the two games.

Riise will also be head coach of Team GB’s women’s football team at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, meaning Tuesday’s game represented a final chance for the England players to impress before the Norwegian names her squad in May.

Back-to-back defeats is not the best way to audition for a place in the Olympic squad, though there were some notable displays to catch Riise’s attention.

The lively Hemp is perhaps the standout player from the two games, while Stanway impressed in midfield against Canada and Ella Toone looked comfortable on what was just her second international appearance when she was introduced in the second half.

Riise can also point to the fact that she has been unable to field her first-choice back four in either game, with defender and captain Steph Houghton injured and Lucy Bronze and Stokes only fit enough to play half an hour each against Canada.

“The players take pride in how they performed in both games,” added Riise. “We had some fantastic opportunities and they played the ball very well, but we didn’t finish the chances and today we had less chances than against France.

“I’m quite happy how we defended and how the two central midfielders reacted when we lost the ball – I felt like we were connected as a team and I was pleased to see that. That’s what we need to think of when we go against tier-one opposition.

“But we need to be more relentless in our passing and think how we can create the chances that we need and want. I’m very confident that next time we will learn from this.

“I am happy having had these games, I got to see all the players and moving forward I’m confident we will perform better.”

Nevertheless, the Lionesses have now lost nine of their last 14 internationals going back to the 2019 World Cup, which suggests their issues go beyond injuries and match fitness.


  1. Squad number11Player nameHemp
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  2. Squad number8Player nameNobbs
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  3. Squad number4Player nameStanway
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  4. Squad number20Player nameToone
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  5. Squad number10Player nameKirby
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  6. Squad number6Player nameWilliamson
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  7. Squad number12Player nameBronze
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  8. Squad number16Player nameGreenwood
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  9. Squad number19Player nameWhite
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  10. Squad number9Player nameEngland
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  11. Squad number2Player nameDaly
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  12. Squad number5Player nameBright
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  13. Squad number17Player nameKelly
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  14. Squad number1Player nameTelford
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  15. Squad number7Player nameParris
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  16. Squad number3Player nameStokes
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  17. Squad number13Player nameBardsley
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  1. Squad number11Player nameScott

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  2. Squad number9Player nameHuitema

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  3. Squad number16Player nameBeckie

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  4. Squad number17Player nameFleming

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  5. Squad number6Player nameRose

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  6. Squad number24Player nameViens

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  7. Squad number2Player nameChapman

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  8. Squad number10Player nameLawrence

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  9. Squad number5Player nameQuinn

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  10. Squad number23Player nameGilles

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  11. Squad number4Player nameZadorsky

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  12. Squad number1Player nameLabbé

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  13. Squad number15Player namePrince

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  14. Squad number13Player nameSchmidt

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  15. Squad number8Player nameRiviere

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