Women's World Cup - Group F
France Women1England Women0

France women 1-0 England women

  • England not beaten France since 1974
  • Eugenie Le Sommer scores long-range strike
  • England manage just one shot on target
  • Lionesses play Mexico next

England slipped to defeat in their Women's World Cup opener against France as Eugenie Le Sommer's strike proved the difference.

Mark Sampson set his team up to contain a French side ranked third in Fifa's world rankings, three places above England.

But they could not prevent midfielder Le Sommer beating goalkeeper Karen Bardsley at her near post from 20 yards for her 45th international goal.

England improved after the break, with Jill Scott's volley their best effort, but they are likely to be more attacking in their other group games against Mexico and Colombia, who are both ranked below them.

Sampson's approach was perhaps mindful of the last time England faced France in a major tournament.

At Euro 2013, the Lionesses exited the competition in Sweden following a 3-0 defeat.

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This time, there was less entertainment as England continued their poor run against opponents they have not beaten for 40 years.

In the first tournament game staged at Moncton Stadium, hundreds of fans struggled to gain entry in time for kick-off.

Then, as the rain came down, they watched a tame first half, with England managing just one attempt on goal.

Sampson's plan was to thwart France, who are tipped to go far in the tournament.

He named Lucy Bronze, who usually plays right-back, on the left of a midfield five in an effort to nullify winger Elodie Thomis.

Although the plan worked in the first 20 minutes, it did invite their opponents to build momentum patiently before taking the lead.

Bardsley had already saved Gaetane Thiney's low strike, but she could do little as Le Sommer collected the ball after Katie Chapman gave it away and fired in from the edge of the box.

By sitting deep, England struggled to support lone striker Eniola Aluko and their only notable chance of the first half came when Chapman missed the target from 18 yards after France keeper Sarah Bouhaddi was caught out of goal.

England were more ambitious in the second half as Scott had their first meaningful effort on goal after 56 minutes, but her volley from a corner was easily saved.

Le Sommer still looked a threat, while Steph Houghton was fortunate to block Camille Abily's strike despite being down after taking a bang to the face. Abily was also lucky not to be penalised for a raised arm towards Laura Bassett in the build up.

With England failing to trouble France further, Les Bleues coach Philippe Bergaroo withdrew some of his best attackers, such as the tricky Louisa Necib.

After entertaining games between Sweden and Nigeria, plus the United States and Australia on Monday, this did not reach the same heights.

Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis
"England will take a lot of heart from this game. As an England critic and fan, I can take a lot of positives from this game.
"Mexico are no pushovers but England now are armed with the capability of changing their tactics. That will hold them in good stead against Colombia too.
"There has been a lot of rotation, and there is great flexibility and adaptability in the side.
"The girls can be proud of their performance and one quality from France which flew into the top corner. England were punished."
France celebrate
France finished fourth at last World Cup
Eugenie Le Sommer
Eugenie Le Sommer scored her 45th international goal
Laura Bassett
England defended resolutely for most of the match
Football fans
The supporters inside the Moncton Stadium experienced rainy conditions throughout the match

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Canada Women11001013
2Netherlands Women11001013
3China Women100101-10
4New Zealand Women100101-10

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany Women1100100103
2Norway Women11004043
3Thailand Women100104-40
4Ivory Coast Women1001010-100

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Cameroon Women11006063
2Japan Women11001013
3Switzerland Women100101-10
4Ecuador Women100106-60

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1USA Women11003123
2Nigeria Women10103301
3Sweden Women10103301
4Australia Women100113-20

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Costa Rica Women10101101
2Spain Women10101101
3Brazil Women00000000
4South Korea Women00000000

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France Women11001013
2Colombia Women10101101
3Mexico Women10101101
4England Women100101-10
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