England were left disappointed with a 2-2 draw in their second Cyprus Cup group game.
Hope Powell’s team had to twice come from behind, Karen Carney and Casey Stoney scoring the equalisers, in a lively encounter against the French.
Despite controlling large parts of the game, England just couldn’t turn possession into goals and could have nearly lost it in stoppage time when a French strike rebounded against the crossbar.
Head Coach Powell said: “I was pleased that we showed the character to come back twice and it’s good to know we can do that. But overall I’m disappointed we only drew the game. The girls are disappointed too. They realise that we were the better team, but when you’re the better team you’ve got to win the game.”
England made three changes to the side which started Thursday’s 6-0 win against South Africa in the opening Group A fixture. Rachel Brown replaced Siobhan Chamberlain in goal, Lindsay Johnson took over from right back Alex Scott and Emily Westwood was drafted into midfield with Kelly Smith pushed forward to take over from Lianne Sanderson up front.
However, it was the French that took the lead midfielder Corine Franco drilling home a rebound.
England regained their composure and equalised through Carney in the 26th minute, the right winger side-footing the ball in from eight yards.
Against the run of play France regained the lead in the 72nd minute, Thomis racing clear of the back four to shoot past Brown from 15 yards.
It took England just three minutes to level the scores for a second time, Stoney stabbing the ball home from six yards.
England pushed for a winner, however, it was the French that nearly stole the game, substitute Gaetane Thiney lifted an angled shot over Brown but against the bar.
Powell’s team now face Scotland in their third and final group game on Tuesday, with England knowing a win by a big enough margin will see them meet the winners of Group B in Thursday’s final.
“There will be changes to the side, but we’ve got enough quality and depth in the squad to manage Scotland. But we also had enough to beat France and didn’t do that, so I’m not getting ahead of myself. We’ll go into the game aiming to win it and hopefully, if we do that, we’ll finish top of the group,” added Powell.
Scarlett Smith, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine