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England: Wiegman delighted with ‘team’ performance as Lionesses beat France

England bounces back from defeat a few days earlier to beat France on their own soil.

England

England boosted their Euro 2025 qualification hopes by beating France 2-1 in Saint-Etienne.

The Lionesses lost to the same opposition at St. James’ Park four days earlier but put in a gritty performance to ensure they stay within touching distance of Les Bleues.

Sarina Wiegman’s side did have to hold on towards the end of the match as France pulled a goal back to half the deficit, but they got the job done and picked up three precious points.

Bayern Munich midfielder Georgia Stanway opened the scoring in the 21st minute, scoring a tremendous goal from distance to put England 1-0 up.

Alessia Russo doubled the advantage just before half-time, heading home from Lauren Hemp’s cross and putting the European champions in complete control of the match.

France had a huge chance to claw one back before the break, Kadidiatou Diani sending her header wide from just a few yards out.

But captain Leah Williamson provided a route back into the game for the hosts by conceding a penalty which Diani stepped up and slotted home effortlessly.

There was not much for Hannah Hampton to do during most of the match, but she was called into action a few times in the final 15 minutes.

She pulled out a brilliant save to deny Marie-Antoinette Katoto in the big chance for the French to come away for a draw.

The win sees the Lionesses move back within two points of the Group A3 leaders, but they remain third on goal difference.

Wiegman was questioned for her lack of substitutions in Friday’s defeat on Tyneside but was much happier with the performance across the English Channel.

She said: “A team effort. You know the second half is going to be different and they are going to push, but we worked so hard to stay together and keep the win.

“You know they are going to press. They were really chasing us. We have to make better decisions, be a bit calmer.

“We played into their hands a bit. We know when they win the ball there they have players that are so quick. We want to take those moments out of course.

“We want to win and we are in a better position now. The group is totally open.

“We said from the beginning this is a really tough group with top-level teams. It helps when you win, but most of all we did better than Friday.”

Goalscorer Stanway shared her boss’ optimism going forward and believes England have taken a step in the right direction

She added: “We were on the front foot from the beginning. We knew the other day wasn’t bad but there was a few things we had to tweak.

“We did that today. We battled for 95 minutes, we made sure we weren’t leaving this stadium without a good result.

“We’re not satisfied with how this week has been but today is a massive step in the right direction for us.

“It’s absolutely massive. We knew how important it was to get the three points. That’s a really big win for us today.”

Picture of Mitch Fretton

Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.

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