France 2-2 England: England concede lead to draw in Paris

Highlights: France 2-2 England

England lost a 2-0 lead as they began their preparations for the 2013 European Championships with a 2-2 draw against France in Paris.

Hope Powell's side were forced to weather a French storm before taking a surprise lead, Arsenal's Steph Houghton scoring from a spectacular free-kick.

Everton's Jill Scott doubled the lead before half-time with a header from Rachel Yankey's cross.

But Marie-Laure Delie made it 2-1 and then scored an 82nd minute equaliser.

England's players looked crestfallen after failing to win from a strong position but there were many positives for England head coach Hope Powell ahead of the Euro 2013 draw in Gothenburg on 9 November.

It was far from comfortable for the visitors as France carried on from where they left off at London 2012, where they finished fourth.

Keeper Karen Bardsley frustrated Gaetane Thiney with a flying save in the 19th minute to keep out the French striker's 18-yard attempt before Alex Scott denied Eugenie Le Sommer with a 28th minute clearance off the line.

Houghton blasts England ahead in Paris

England arrived in the French capital without injured striker Kelly Smith, scorer of 45 goals in 111 games for her country, but they took the lead against the run of play in the 34th minute.

Houghton marked her 29th appearance for her country with her fifth goal, a thunderous 20-yard free-kick after French keeper Sarah Bouhaddi had deliberately handled outside the area.

Five minutes later it was 2-0, Scott nodding Yankey's inch-perfect cross into the net to stun the hosts.

England were forced to endure a nervous final half an hour as the incessant rain began to make an impact.

France reduced the deficit when Delie marked her 50th international appearance with her 41st goal after latching onto Toni Duggan's mis-hit back-pass.

Bardsley again denied the dangerous Le Sommer before making way for substitute keeper Siobhan Chamberlain.

And Chamberlain will be disappointed that she was beaten by Delie's lob from inside the area with just eight minutes remaining.

England head coach Hope Powell:

"There were more positives than negatives. All in all it was a good contest and the good thing is we didn't lose.

"France are a really good side and are highly ranked.

"We didn't play particularly well in the first half but scored two goals. We actually played better in the second half but gave them two goals."

"It's good to give players experience and most of them gave a really good account of themselves."

England captain Casey Stoney:

"We gifted them two goals and we need to take a really good look at that because you can't do that at this level.

"But it's a really good learning curve for us all and we can be proud overall."

England starting side: Karen Bardsley (Linkoping), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Everton), Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies), Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies), Eniola Aluko (Birmingham City), Anita Asante (Goteborg), Ellen White (Arsenal), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal).

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