France Women 1 – 2 England Women

England boosted their hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2025 with a 2-1 victory over France in Saint-Etienne.

Sarina Wiegman’s side missed out on automatic qualification spots in their group after France came from behind to beat the Lionesses 2-1 at St James’ Park on Friday. Sweden, who started the night second in the group behind France, put the pressure on England with a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland, but the Euro 2022 champions responded in fine style.

In a near-flawless first-half performance from England, Georgia Stanway’s long-range shot gave the visitors the lead in the 21st minute before Alessia Russo’s header doubled the lead before the break.

France failed to get a shot on target in the first half, but looked much more threatening after the break. They were finally given a lifeline when Ella Toone lost possession in the middle of the field before Leah Williamson hit Grace Geyoro in the penalty area.

Kadidiatou Diani made no mistake from the penalty spot to set up a great finish at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, and England needed a great save from Hannah Hampton, replacing the injured Mary Earps, to deny Marie-Antoinette Katoto in the closing stages and seal what could have turned out to be a great victory for the Lionesses.

England ends France’s impressive home run

England inflicted their first home defeat on France in 21 matches.

The result means England, who claimed their first victory in France in 51 years, are now in control of their own destiny in terms of automatic qualification. The Lionesses remain third in the group on goal difference but are level on points with Sweden, who they have yet to play, while they are now just two points behind group leaders France with two games left in the campaign. .

How is Group A3…

Despite the defeat, France remains top with nine points from four games, with Sweden second on goal difference but tied with England on seven points.

The Republic of Ireland remains bottom after a narrow defeat against Sweden.

England know they will be back in the top two if they beat the Republic of Ireland in their next match and France play Sweden on the same day.

The first two in the group automatically advance to next year’s championship in Switzerland.

How England avenged Friday’s defeat to France…

Georgia Stanway celebrates her first match for England against France.
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Georgia Stanway celebrates her first match for England against France.

England looked like a team lacking confidence in the early stages, with some misdirected passes and some heavy touches giving away possession to a France that looked dangerous on the counterattack.

Ella Toone’s weak shot was easily saved by Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, while at the other end, Sakina Karchaoui’s low cross was deflected by Kadidiatou Diani before the Lionesses really got going.

England moved the ball quickly to Beth Mead who crossed to the near post. Russo came in with a perfectly timed run but could only veer off. Mead then had her own chance but Peyraud-Magnin made a clever block at her near post to deny the Arsenal striker a goal.

The momentum was fully in the visitors’ favor and they asserted their dominance in the 21st minute. Hemp used his strength to hold onto the ball before setting up Stanway who unleashed a powerful first time shot into the bottom left corner.

Russo then had an excellent opportunity to double the lead thanks to Lucy Bronze, who volleyed the ball towards the goal. The Arsenal striker took advantage of a cross at the far post and headed the ball towards goal, but Peyraud-Magnin’s outstretched boot kept the lead at one.

However, Russo was not going to be denied for long. Another cross from the right, this time from Hemp, highlighted the Arsenal striker, who guided a header into the roof of the net to send England into a two-goal lead at the break.

Alessia Russo heads England's second against France.
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Alessia Russo heads England’s second against France.

The hosts were looking for a response and made a double change at half-time, bringing on Sandie Toletti and Delphine Cascarino for Amandine Henry and Sakina Karchaoui.

And they were granted a pass back into the game with 18 minutes remaining. Toone lost possession deep in their own half, which immediately put pressure on the visitors. Geyoro was then fouled by Williamson in the box before Diani converted for Hampton to give France a lifeline.

The momentum was with France as England looked to hold on for victory, and the hosts created one last chance, but Hampton made a stunning save to deny Katoto from close range to send England across the finish line.

england team news

Hannah Hampton replaced the injured Mary Earps in goal with England unchanged since their loss to France on Friday.

Earps exited the first half with a minor hip injury and left the team on Sunday.

Wiegman: “We are now in a better position”

England coach Sarina Wiegman:

“A team effort. You know the second half is going to be different and they are going to push, but we worked very hard to stay together and maintain the victory.

“You know they’re going to press. They were really chasing us. We have to make better decisions, be a little calmer. We played into their game a little. We know that when they win the ball there they have players who are very fast.” . We want to bring out those moments of course.

“Of course it gives a boost. We want to win and now we are in a better position. The group is totally open. We said from the beginning that this is a really difficult group with top-level teams. It helps when you win, but above all we did better than Friday.”

“England impeccable in the first half”

Karen Carney from Sky Sports on ITV:

“The first half was the best I have seen England play in a long time. It was impeccable.

“The second half was a little different, but they got the result and that was the most important thing.

“England play better when they are under pressure, but it shows that they are a great team with great players. Sometimes they just need that little rocket, but we’re a top-notch team.

“The only team that really beats us is ourselves. When we apply ourselves we are unstoppable. But can we maintain that consistency? Can we continue showing hunger?

“France is preparing for the Olympic Games at home. It is not easy for an English team to go to France and, under pressure, get two goals and a result.

“It was a brilliant performance from England.”

Russo: We recover our standards

England goalscorer Alessia Russo:

“I think we’ve gotten our standards back to where we wanted them.

“There are still parts that we will work on for sure. We know that the level is higher than ever and even qualifying for the European Championship will be more difficult than ever.”

“We know our standards have to be higher. We probably dropped them a little bit recently. We know the talent we have, we know the potential we have and we saw a lot more flashes of that tonight.”

Stanway: big step in the right direction

England goalscorer Georgia Stanway:

“We were ahead from the beginning. We knew the other day wasn’t bad, but there were some things we had to change. We did that today. We fought for 95 minutes, we made sure we didn’t give up.” This stadium without a good result. We’re not happy with how this week went, but today is a big step in the right direction for us.

“It’s absolutely huge. We knew how important it was to get the three points. That’s a big win for us today.”

Whats Next?

The Lionesses return to action next month with their final two Euro 2025 qualifying matches. Sarina Wiegman’s team hosts the Republic of Ireland at Carrow Road on July 12 and will then finish their campaign with an away trip against Sweden on July 16.

What are the other qualifying dates for Euro 2025?

12th of July: England vs Republic of Ireland, Norwich, kick-off at 8:00 p.m.

July 16th: Sweden vs England, location to be confirmed, kick-off at 6 p.m.

Play-off draw: July 19

First play-off round (two games): October 23 to 29

Second play-off round (two games): November 27 to December 3

Draw for the final phase of Euro 2025: December 16

Euro 2025 Finals: July 2-27, 2025 – Switzerland

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