A penalty from Fran Kirby was just a consolation for England when they slipped to a 3-1 defeat against France in a captivating international friendly.
In a scary start to the game, England were in attack but shaky at the back. In fact, the first half summed up perfectly just after the half-hour mark when Ellen White’s bottling was rightly ruled out for offside before France went straight down the other end to take the lead through Sandy Baltimore.
The Lions hoped for a comeback disappeared on the hour mark when Rachel Daly conceded a penalty for a clumsy challenge, from which Viviane Asseyi made no mistake. But Fran Kirby ensured a nervous finish when she put in her own spot kick with 12 minutes left – the first goal that France had conceded in over 13 hours.
Kiera Walsh struck the post a few minutes later, but France struck the game shortly after when Marie-Antoinette Katoto knocked home from close range to cover the win for Les Bleus.
This is how England’s players ranked at night …
Roebuck had a solid game | Mike Stobe / Getty Images
Ellie Roebuck (GK) – 7/10 – Looked a little nervous at times but compensated for it with a handful of excellent saves. France would have been clear early without her.
Rachel Daly (RB) – 4/10 – Hard to be too critical of Daly. She is not a right-back (she is not even a defender) and France were more than happy to take advantage of that. She was completely beaten by Baltimore.
Millie Bright (CB) – 5/10 – Tossed himself in front of a handful of shots but saw horror in the air. France pumped in cross after cross and the Chelsea star did not look up to it.
Leah Williamson (CB) – 5/10 – Like Bright, Williamson had a hard time dealing with France’s forward line. Not a vintage performance by any of the central defenders, who clearly lacked Steph Houghton’s influence.
Alex Greenwood (LB) – 4/10 – Picked up at half-time after struggling to match up to France’s potent front line.
Kirby was excellent | SAMEER AL-DOUMY / Getty Images
Jill Scott (CM) – 5/10 – Showed her age a bit when she struggled to keep up with the pace of the game. Shot in midfield.
Keira Walsh (CM) – 8/10 – Picked up the slack from Scott with an excellent display. Sprayed passing around the field all night and looked anxious to get on the ball. Deserved more luck than she got with her late strike.
Nikita Parris (RM) – 7/10 – Missed a caretaker at half time and was pulled off shortly after. Should have had a bigger impact.Fran Kirby (AM) – 8/10 – The Chelsea star was not as dangerous as we have seen at club level, but she still managed to torment France’s backline. Found himself in so many dangerous spaces and helped pull the strings in attack. Took her punishment with real calm.
Beth Mead (LM) – 5/10 – Struggled to get into the game and was surprisingly marked by the game by Torrent. Mead’s biggest impact was shouting “OUR BALL!”.
White should have done better | Brad Smith / ISI Photos / Getty Images
Ellen White (ST) – 7/10 – Had a lot of fun against France’s defenders but thought her biggest opponent was the offside flag. Will be frustrated not to have done more.
The feeling of making your #Lionesses debut?
Make it special, @ niamhcharles7! pic.twitter.com/yY7mCd5PDh
– Lionesses (@Lionesses) April 9, 2021
Chloe Kelly – 7/10
Niamh Charles – 6/10
Lotte Wubben-Moy – 6/10
Lauren Hemp – 7/10
Jordan Nobbs – 6/10
Beth England – 6/10
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