'Sloppy' Lionesses see Olympics hopes hanging by a thread | OneFootball

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Evening Standard

·1 November 2023

'Sloppy' Lionesses see Olympics hopes hanging by a thread

Article image:'Sloppy' Lionesses see Olympics hopes hanging by a thread
Article image:'Sloppy' Lionesses see Olympics hopes hanging by a thread

Sloppy: Lionesses conceded three goals in a game for the first time under Sarina Wiegman


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is renowned for being direct and honest, and she did not hold back when assessing this performance from the Lionesses.

“Sloppy” and “unnecessary” was how she described it after England slumped to a defeat that leaves their hopes of securing qualification for next summer’s Olympics on behalf of Team GB hanging by a thread.

England were makers of their own downfall in Leuven as they wasted chances and gifted Belgium all three of their goals.

It was uncharacteristic of the Lionesses under Wiegman and the first time in her 43-game reign that they have conceded three times in a game.

“We’re very disappointed, we are frustrated too,” said Wiegman. “I think this was unnecessary. What we wanted to do was to play better than Friday [against Belgium] and we won Friday, and a couple of things we wanted to do better today, but in the end we were too sloppy.”

Article image:'Sloppy' Lionesses see Olympics hopes hanging by a thread


Last night was a third defeat in five games for the Lionesses, which is remarkable when you consider they went 30 games unbeaten after Wiegman took over in 2020.

England have also now managed to keep just one clean sheet in seven matches, conceding six goals in four matches during this Nations League campaign.

It has left them third in Group A1 and their fate is no longer in their own hands.

England must beat the Netherlands at Wembley next month and hope Belgium slip up against Scotland to put them back in the hunt to top the group.

“I don’t think it is anything to panic about or be thinking it’s a wake-up call or anything like that,” said goalkeeper Mary Earps.

“You learn a lot from defeat. That’s how the greats are made, that’s how great teams are made. Life isn’t easy, football isn’t easy. If it was, we would all be gold medalists.”

England do not need to hit the panic button, but they must address the failings from last night and this Nations League campaign.

Individual errors have crept into their defence and Belgium were able to get far too much joy on the counter.

Article image:'Sloppy' Lionesses see Olympics hopes hanging by a thread

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Alex Greenwood going off with a head injury after half an hour did not help.

The centre-back clashed heads with Belgium forward Jassina Blom in the 19th minute and was treated on the pitch for almost 12 minutes.

She was carried off on a stretcher and with a neck brace on, while receiving oxygen. Greenwood was up and walking by full-time, though, and travelled back with the team this morning after a suspected concussion. If confirmed, it would be the second concussion she has suffered this year playing for England.

In her absence, England’s lack of pace in defence was exposed and there is an argument Wiegman should return to a back-three until Leah Williamson is back in the New Year.

The issue is that may weaken England in attack, where they are already struggling. They had 41 shots on goal across this double-header against Belgium, but scored just three times.

Beth Mead will be back for next month’s games against the Netherlands and Scotland, and that is a huge boost.

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