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England Women beaten by Canada in friendly

Sophie Schmidt celebrates her goal for Canada against England
Image: Sophie Schmidt celebrates her goal for Canada against England

England suffered a setback ahead of the Women's World Cup as they were beaten 1-0 by tournament hosts Canada in a warm-up game.

Sophie Schmidt scored a deserved winner for Canada midway through the first half in front of a sell-out 22,000 crowd at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.

England substitute Fara Williams almost snatched a late equaliser when she hit the crossbar from 40 yards in the 87th minute, but it would have flattered Mark Sampson’s side.

The match was played on artificial turf, ahead of a tournament that will be played entirely on such surfaces, and Canada's goal came in the 23rd minute, from a fine 20-yard strike into the top right corner by Schmidt after she was played in by Josee Belanger.

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England had shaded the game until then, but without posing a genuine goal threat.

Casey Stoney had to knock the ball over England's bar to deny Canada early in the second half as the hosts pushed for a second goal and ‘keeper Karen Bardsley then blocked an effort from the impressive Schmidt.

England sent on record caps holder Williams and striker Eni Aluko, who between them have 69 goals for the national team, for the closing half hour but they were unable to make a breakthrough.

Exciting young forward Fran Kirby joined the action in the 73rd minute as Katie Chapman made way, the Chelsea midfielder having not made the impact in central midfield that she would have liked.

Captain Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze both featured in defence for England and got valuable playing time having recently recovered from knee injuries.

England open their World Cup campaign against France on June 9 in Moncton, New Brunswick. 

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