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England Women vs Spain Women. SheBelieves Cup.

Toyota Stadium.

England Women 0

    Spain Women 1

      England Women 0-1 Spain Women: Lionesses end SheBelieves with defeat

      USA were confirmed as champions before 3-1 win against Japan

      Alexia Putellas celebrates scoring Spain's winner against England
      Image: Alexia Putellas celebrates scoring Spain's winner against England

      England Women ended their 2020 SheBelieves Cup campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Spain, as the USA were without crowned champions without kicking a ball.

      Holders England were looking to build on their 1-0 win against Japan on Sunday and had the best of the first half, with Ellen White floating an effort wide in the 14th minute and the impressive Nikita Parris also going close.

      But Spain called for experience with half-time substitutions and it showed as they were much improved. Unlike England, they made their pressure count as Alexia Putellas headed home in the 83rd minute to seal the win.

      It marks the seventh defeat in 11 games for England, and their second of the 2020 SheBelieves Cup, while the result meant that the USA were crowned champions before they kicked a ball in a 3-1 victory over Japan.

      Goals from Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Lindsey Horan helped extend the United States' unbeaten streak to 31 matches as they ended the tournament with three wins from three games.

      How England lost again

      Maria Caldentey of Spain and Jill Scott of England fight for the ball
      Image: Maria Caldentey of Spain and Jill Scott of England fight for the ball

      Parris was lively from the start in Texas, and tested the Spain defence inside 10 minutes. She was fed down the right by Jordan Nobbs and held the ball up well before nutmegging Leila Ouahabi to drive into the box. Parris then flashed a ball across the face of goal. However, there was no one there to convert and the delivery ran wide.

      White - who scored the only goal against Japan three days ago - went close in the 14th minute. Jill Scott did well to chip the ball forward for her, but White could only send her effort floating over the crossbar.

      Also See:

      Player ratings

      England: Telford (7), Daly (6), Greenwood (6), Bright (6), Parris (8), Scott (7), Nobbs (7), Duggan (6), Williamson (6), McManus (6), White (7).

      Subs used: Houghton (6), Stanway (6), Kelly (7), Russo (5), Walsh (n/a).

      Spain: Panos (6), Moraza (8), Bonmati (7), Caldentey (7), Guijarro (6), Ouahabi (7), Leon (6), Garcia (7) Sosa (6), Sampedro (7), Pereira (6).

      Subs used: Corredera (7), Cardona (7), Putellas (7), Torrecilla (7), Hermoso (6), Redondo (n/a).

      Man of the match: Nikita Parris.

      Just after the hour mark, and White and Parris both went close in the same move. It was Nobbs who drove down the right before putting a cross into the area, but White was well marked by Ainhoa Moraza and her effort was blocked. Parris was waiting for the rebound, but the legs of Ouahabi stopped her.

      Spain made three half-time substitutions and it sparked them into life in the second half. They went close inside five minutes as Putellas, one of those substitutes, got the better of Rachel Daly with her cross. Aitana Bonmati was waiting on the right of the area, but her first touch was poor and the ball ran away from her.

      Team news

      Phil Neville made eight changes to the side that beat Japan 1-0 on Sunday. Only Jordan Nobbs, Millie Bright and Rachel Daly kept their places in the XI, while Ellen White and Toni Duggan – who scored and assisted the winning goal at the weekend – started. Captain Steph Houghton dropped to the bench while Beth England was sidelined through injury.

      On the stroke of the hour, Carly Telford made a huge save to keep Spain at bay. Toni Duggan was caught on the ball by the impressive Moraza and she strode into the area past Abbie McManus. The England goalkeeper came racing out to meet her as she struck, sending the ball away with her face.

      England's best chance of the half came in the 76th minute with substitute Chloe Kelly impressing in her short time on the field. Parris held the ball up well on the right of the area before finding Kelly in the middle with a chip. The Everton forward then shot on the turn, but could only find the side of the net.

      SheBelieves Cup table

      Team Played Goal difference Points
      USA 3 5 9
      Spain 3 2 6
      England 3 -2 3
      Japan 3 -5 0

      Spain settled matters with seven minutes of normal time to play. More questions were raised about England's defending from set-pieces as Putellas was left open in the middle of the area and allowed to power a header home from Jennifer Hermoso's cross.

      England almost nabbed a point in the first of three minutes added on as Kelly whipped a free-kick in front of the waiting pack, but Parris could not turn it home with an outstretched foot and the Lionesses suffered another defeat.

      Player of the match - Nikita Parris

      Nikita Parris impressed despite the England defeat
      Image: Nikita Parris impressed despite the England defeat

      Parris demonstrated why she has played 50 times for England on her half-century appearance. In a dominant England first half, she made those driving runs and key passes that almost bamboozled the Spain defence.

      And despite England having few attacking chances in the second period, she was involved when they did come, chipping the ball forward for Kelly before almost turning her free-kick home with just minutes to play.

      It will be another tough result to take, but Parris can be safe in the knowledge that she was one of England's shining lights.

      FRISCO, TX - MARCH 11: Nikita Parris #7 of England laments during a match between England and Spain as part of 2020 SheBelieves Cup at Toyota Stadium on March 11, 2020 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) 0:45
      England forward Nikita Parris has defended head coach Phil Neville and says the squad have to take more responsibility for their poor performances

      I'm staying put, insists Neville

      Phil Neville 0:58
      England Women boss Phil Neville insists he is going nowhere after watching his side lose the final match of their SheBelieves Cup defence

      England manager Phil Neville admitted his frustrations but insisted he was going nowhere despite increased scrutiny of his position following the disappointing tournament.

      Asked by Sky Sports News' Jessica Creighton if he was still the right man to take the team forward, Neville said: "That's something I've got to take responsibility for. I've got to look at how we improve the team's performances.

      "I've got 100 per cent confidence in my own ability - 100 per cent. I trust the players and they trust me but ultimately results have to improve. I've been in football long enough to say that. Over the next two, three weeks we've got to take stock and reset."

      Asked again if he would be staying, Neville said: "Yes.

      "I think there has to be a big reality check about where we want to go. We probably have to start building the foundations again a bit stronger and ultimately I take full responsibility. It's probably the most frustrated and disappointed I've been since taking this job."

      Analysis: Inconsistency hurting England

      England Women's record cap holder Fara Williams on Sky Sports News:

      "I think England started the first half really well. I mentioned at half-time how disciplined they were and they had a very experienced team going out in that first half and Spain's was less so. It flipped in the second half and England bought some younger players on. Spain bought some more experienced players on and ended up dominating the second half. It was a game of two halves and they ended up being more clinical.

      "It's seven defeats in 11 and it's tough as an England supporter to see that. The performances haven't matched the results, they've been poor as well so not only are England not getting the results, the performances within those games haven't been good enough.

      "The pressure is mounting for Phil Neville. He likes to experiment and he's done that throughout his time with England, but he has to get some consistency now and I'm not sure he's done that.

      "Phil has mentioned the hangover they had from the World Cup and I'll accept that for a few games and maybe a few months but we're nearly a year on now and the results just haven't gone their way. The inconsistency from players and the inconsistency from his selection probably isn't helping."

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