England’s defence of SheBelieves Cup ends with defeat by Spain



Posted Thursday, March 12, 2020 by PA

England’s defence of SheBelieves Cup ends with defeat by Spain

England’s defence of the SheBelieves Cup title ended with a disappointing 1-0 defeat by Spain in Dallas.

After criticism following an opening loss to the USA, England had steadied the ship with a 1-0 victory over Japan, and manager Phil Neville stated that a repeat against Spain would make it a successful tournament.

But Neville will be braced for more questions about his position after a positive start petered out, and Spain’s Alexia Putellas scored the winning goal in the 83rd minute.

Neville freshened up his side, making eight changes to the starting line-up from the victory over Japan.

This was a much more experienced line-up, with match-winner Ellen White and midfielders Toni Duggan and Jill Scott among those to come in.

Spain have been hugely impressive this tournament, beating Japan comfortably and then pushing the USA all the way before losing to an 87th-minute goal.

Carly Telford had to be off her line smartly to collect an early through ball but, although Spain had more possession in the first half, it was England who created the chances.

Nikita Parris looked dangerous down the right and she drilled a cross-shot across the face of goal after creating space for herself in the ninth minute.

Scott then played in White for a shot over the bar, while in the 22nd minute Parris saw an effort deflected behind.

England’s best opening came in the 31st minute when the impressive Jordan Nobbs broke away but the Spanish defence foiled both White and Parris.

Captain Steph Houghton came on for Millie Bright at half-time but it was Spain who began the second half the better.

A cross found Aitana Bonmati in space at the far post but she could not control the ball and it rolled behind for a goal-kick.

Spain created the first big chance on the hour mark when Ainhoa Vicente Moraza, making her first start for her country, robbed Duggan and drove forward into the box only for Telford to pull off a fine stop.

England were struggling to get out of their own half and Virginia Torrecilla was the next to go close, clipping a shot just over the bar with Telford stranded after a poor clearance by Alex Greenwood.

Neville made a number of changes in an attempt to shift the momentum, and Alessia Russo was given her England debut while Chloe Kelly also came on, and she shot into the side netting as England finally offered a second-half threat.

Telford then made another good save from Marta Cardona but the keeper was beaten with only seven minutes left as Putellas’ header flew into the net.

Spain squandered several chances to make it two, while Parris missed a good opportunity to equalise for England in injury time.

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