Women's Euro 2013: England 2-3 Spain

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport in Linkoping, Sweden
England stunned by late Spain winner

England suffered their first defeat by Spain for 17 years as they succumbed to an injury-time own goal from goalkeeper Karen Bardsley in their Euro 2013 opener in Linkoping.

Hope Powell's side twice recovered from going behind with Eniola Aluko replying to Veronica Boquete's early strike and Laura Bassett seeming to have pinched a late point when she cancelled out Jennifer Hermoso's finish.

But as the game entered stoppage time, Adriana's cross from the left hit Bardsley in the face as she was challenged by Alexia Putellas and deflected in.

England's performance was an improvement on their showing against Sweden in a warm-up game last week, but in keeping with the men's national team, Spain - competing in their first European Championship since 1997 - kept the ball well for long periods and made it a tough night for Powell's side.

It means a second consecutive defeat for England, who were 11 games unbeaten before they arrived in Sweden and are hoping to repeat their Euro 2009 run when they made it to the final.

But with Group C rivals France winning their opening game 3-1 against Russia earlier on Friday, this upset leaves Powell's side with an uphill task.

With the top two teams from each of the Euro 2013 groups joined by two of the best third-placed team in the last eight, there is still plenty to play for. However, England will need a rapid improvement if they are to achieve their goal.

Boquete said she was on a "revenge mission" after Spain were denied qualification to Euro 2009 and the 2011 World Cup by England, and she, along with fellow Spain forwards Adriana and Sonia, caused the England defence plenty of problems.

England were without Sophie Bradley, who injured her ankle against Sweden, and they got off to a miserable start to their campaign when Sonia's neat flick carved the defence open and Boquete slotted in.

England must learn from errors - Powell

But Spain relinquished their lead shortly afterwards when England, seventh in the Fifa world rankings, attacked down the inside left channel, and Jill Scott fed Aluko for her 15th England goal.

After a poor start, England's equaliser led to a better spell and Fara Williams tested Ainhoa Tirapu in the Spanish goal with a 20-yard shot.

But Spain, who are ranked 18th in the world, would not be kept quiet. Bardsley had to deny Adriana and Sonia before the break, although Ellen White also went close at the other end.

The second-half introduction of substitute Putellas gave Spain added energy and after Vicky Losada hit the bar from close range when Bardsley let a deep cross bounce over her head, they went ahead once more.

With five minutes left, England failed to clear a corner and Hermoso rifled a shot home through a crowded six-yard box. England looked finished but Bassett then appeared to save them with a curling finish following a corner.

But Bardsley could not claim another curling cross, this time from Adriana, and under pressure from Putellas the ball struck her on the head and deflected into her own net.

Earlier in Group C, France recorded the first win of Euro 2013, comfortably beating Russia 3-1 with Marie-Laure Delie scoring twice before the break.

Eugenie Le Sommer added a third in the second half, before Elena Morozova grabbed a late consolation.


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