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World Cup Group D

Early exit for England women

England's women exited Euro 2013 without winning a game after a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to France on Thursday night.

Last Updated: 18/07/13 at 22:31 Post Comment

Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney and Karen Bardsley: Look dejected after France'

Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney and Karen Bardsley: Look dejected after France'

Hope Powell's players - finalists four years ago - needed a win at the Linkoping Arena to guarantee their progression from Group C but an early goal and a second-half double condemned them to an early flight home.

Eugenie Le Sommer had ominously rattled a post with only eight minutes gone but swiftly went one better, rewarding Elodie Thomis's swashbuckling run with a low finish into the corner.

England pressed and harried higher up the field but though France were restricted to long-range efforts as the first half drew to a close, Louisa Necib's drive needed a firm palm from Karen Bardsley.

Powell replaced Anita Asante with attacking midfielder Jill Scott after the break but Thomis continued to exploit gaps further back, threatening to finish a clever Necib through-ball, before blazing one shot wide.

Toni Duggan had fired over the French goal after a rare attack at the other end but a quickfire double killed the contest - just moments after barely-fit talisman Kelly Smith was desperately thrust into the fray.

Necib found space to twist and hook the ball past Bardsley (62), before delivering a corner that Wendie Renard rose to meet two minutes later.

Thomis might have grabbed a fourth goal with a dragged effort 20 minutes from time but Bruno Bini's side had long secured their quarter-final spot.

Powell felt a pre-season declaration that failure to qualify from the group would be "a disaster" had come back to haunt her - but insisted she was the right woman to lead a World Cup qualifying campaign this autumn.

The Londoner, whose side had previously slipped up 3-2 to Spain before salvaging a last-gasp draw with Russia, told the BBC: "I said it would be a difficult task. France and Spain were difficult but we should perhaps have done better against Russia.

"We know we didn't play our best but big credit must go to France. They've got very, very good strength in depth.

"I have to regroup, the players have to regroup and go again. I don't like losing and we'll be back. More importantly the players will have learned some lessons and I'll have learned some lessons. We have to do better next time."

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reat article. Hits the nail on the head. Encapsulates why I don't read tabloid newspapers anymore. The only thing worse is the 'told you so first' headline when they get lucky.

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Time To Burst The ITK Bubble

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amous. If that can be achieved whilst sitting in your pants and without any degree of hard work, all the better. I have no desire to be famous, but the rest of that line suits me just fine. Great article by the way, well worth the wait.

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Time To Burst The ITK Bubble

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here seems to be little focus on the performance of Besiktas. They played very well and stopped Arsenal from playing. Credit has to go to their manager. As much as Arsenal didn't play too well, we kept a clean sheet, but the home side made it very difficult.

Geddy76
Chambers' Poise Impresses Again

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