England’s EURO qualification hopes dealt a blow with defeat to France

England’s EURO qualification hopes dealt a blow with defeat to France
England’s EURO qualification hopes dealt a blow with defeat to France

England’s hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 have been dealt a blow after The Lionesses were defeated 2-1 by France at St James’ Park this evening.

It was all going to plan for The Lionesses after Beth Mead fired them into a 30th-minute lead but goals from Elisa De Almeida and Marie-Antoinette Katoto saw the game swing in France’s favour.

The game took time to get going, largely as a result of an injury to England goalkeeper Mary Earps inside the first two minutes. After receiving medical attention on the pitch, she had to be replaced by Hannah Hampton.

The first meaningful chance of the game fell England’s way. In the 23rd minute, Lauren Hemp’s low cross found Ella Toone but she fired narrowly wide across goal. Alessia Russo soon also had a glimpse of goal but she couldn’t test visiting keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.

The Lionesses broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark. Another low cross caused France problems and Mead was there to fire the ball home.

France responded and Maëlle Lakrar’s header had to be clawed away by Hampton before Katoto couldn’t keep her effort down after connecting with a cross.

Les Bleues got their equaliser moments later. A corner kick found the boot of De Almeida and she looped her shot into the far corner of the England net.

The Lionesses picked themselves back up and they were unlucky not to go into the break ahead. Mead sent a curling shot goalbound but Peyraud-Magnin pushed the ball around the post.

The start of the second half was keenly-contested but quality chances were hard to come by. The only chance of note fell to Delphine Cascarino but she fired wide across goal.

There was little to separate the two sides until the 68th minute when France took the lead. England failed to clear their lines and Katoto netted with a clean strike on the turn.

The Lionesses pushed hard for an equaliser late in the game but France put bodies behind the ball and bravely held on for the three points.

The two nations will now turn their attentions towards the return fixture in Saint-Étienne on Tuesday evening.