England finished fourth at the Women’s World Cup after slipping to a 2-1 defeat against Sweden in their play-off in Nice.
The Lionesses felt aggrieved after VAR chalked off an equaliser for handball on top scorer Ellen White, although manager Phil Neville later branded the final precursor “a nonsense game”.
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England were looking to overcome the disappointment of defeat to the United States earlier in the week, while Sweden were coming off the back of a loss against the Netherlands.
The Lionesses got off to a dreadful start when Alex Greenwood failed to clear a cross, allowing Kosovare Asllani to finish past Telford. Sweden then doubled their lead when Sofia Jakobsson exploited time in the box to curl a shot in at the back post.
England then sparked into life and Fran Kirby’s excellent solo effort preceded White’s disallowed goal minutes later.
In the second half, England controlled the ball for much of the first 25 minutes, but struggled to find their way through an obdurate Swedish defence although Lucy Bronze had a shot cleared off the line at the death.
England will be desperately disappointed to end with two consecutive defeats when just seven days ago they were dreaming of winning the whole tournament, but there is much to build on in the coming years as public support increases.
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Should White’s goal have stood? She seemed crestfallen to have the goal taken away, and on the replays it was not clear if it had struck her chest and then bounced into her arm. She has been dangerous throughout the tournament so will be devastated that she was not able to keep England in the game.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Sofia Jakobsson (Sweden): The forward scored one goal for Sweden as they ruthlessly took their chances and moved out of reach of England, and she was a constant threat in the match as Sweden had to look to attack on the counter in the second half. There were no great performances in the match, but hers was a vital one nonetheless.
England: Telford 5, Bronze 6, Greenwood 5, Houghton 6, Parris 6, Scott 6, Kirby 7, McManus 6, Moore 6, White 7, Mead 6. Subs: Taylor 6, Carney 7, Daly 6.
Sweden: Lindahl 7, Sembrant 6, Glas 6, Fischer 7, Eriksson 6, Asllani 7, Jakobsson 8, Blackstenius 7, Bjorn 6, Seger 6, Rolfo 6. Subs: Hurtig 7, Olme 6, Ilestedt 6.
Sweden celebrate v England
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11’ - GOAL! England 0-1 Sweden. Asllani scores - A cross from the left isn't properly cleared, it drops to Asllani in the box, and she squeezes in her shot against the 'keeper and into the net.
22’ - GOAL! England 0-2 Sweden. Jakobsson scores - Receiving the ball on the left hand corner of the box, she takes a couple of touch towards goal and curls an excellent shot to the far corner.
31’ - GOAL! England 1-2 Sweden. Kirby scores - That's an excellent finish. She pulls off down the right, is found by Scott, and then cuts inside, into the box, before she curls in a low shot around Lindahl.
33’ - GOAL! England 2-2 Sweden. White scores - White grabs the equaliser, and her seventh of the tournament. She chests a cross into the box, spins her marker and drives a shot past Lindahl, but it’s disallowed for offside on review!
59’ - KIRBY CHANCE! Kirby forces a shot from a tight angle at goal, but Lindahl is able to stop it squeezing through.
90’ - BRONZE VOLLEY! Bronze watches the ball drop onto her foot in the box, and she lashes a shot at goal past the 'keeper, only to see Fischer head off the line!
- Two of the five goals initially awarded but then overturned by VAR at the 2019 Women's World Cup have been scored by England's Ellen White (40%)
Lionesses forward Toone taking her chance on the main stage
Lionesses begin life without Neville with emphatic win