Women's Euro 2013: England eliminated after France loss

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport in Linkoping, Sweden
England knocked out of Euro 2013

England finished bottom of Group C and were knocked out of Euro 2013 after being outclassed by France in Sweden.

France looked imposing from the start and Eugenie Le Sommer opened the scoring early on with a crisp strike.

Karen Bardsley saved efforts from Elodie Thomis and Louisa Necib, while England did not have a chance on goal until Toni Duggan's shot after an hour.

But two goals in three minutes ended the contest thanks to Necib's clever finish before Wendie Renard headed in.

They came as England enjoyed their best spell of the game and extinguished any prospect of Hope Powell's team reaching the last eight.

England had gone into the game knowing that victory would have taken them through to the quarter-finals and that a draw might have been enough to go to a drawing of lots with Group A side Denmark for a place in the last eight.

But Powell's team could not cope with Lyon's attacking trio of Le Sommer, Thomis and Necib, who put England under constant pressure.

England finished bottom of the table with just a point after Russia and Spain drew 1-1 in the night's other match.

That result saw Russia go to a drawing of lots but they lost out against Denmark, who join Iceland as one of the two best third-placed finishers from the two groups.

England had arrived in Sweden following an 11-game unbeaten run, but lost a pre-tournament friendly against the hosts, and there has been a distinct lack of creativity and energy from the side.

They lost 3-2 to Spain and drew 1-1 with Russia in their two previous group games. Allied with the poor showing of the England men's Under-21s at the European Championship and the men's Under-20s at the World Cup, it means the Football Association has not seen any of its sides win a tournament game during a miserable summer.

France's fluency and pace cut through the England defence early on with Le Sommer firing a shot against the post after eight minutes, before collecting the ball after one of many Thomis bursts soon after and finding the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.

France could have doubled the lead through captain Sandrine Subeyrand, who fired over, while England goalkeeper Bardsley was in fine form to deny Thomis and Necib.

England had made three changes to the side that drew with Russia, but struggled to bypass the French midfield. Powell's team lined up in a more attacking 4-4-2 formation, but they were pressed quickly and had little time to settle.

Sophie Bradley added an assurance to the England defence as she replaced Laura Bassett but England were fortunate that, after the half-hour mark, France seemed content to sit on their one-goal lead.

Women's Euro 2013 highlights: Russia 1-1 Spain

Having been dropped, Jill Scott came on at half-time in place of Anita Asante and added some much-needed energy with White having a shot blocked by the imposing Renard.

But as England improved, Thomis reminded England of her pace when she shot over the bar after a quick counter-attack.

Kelly Smith, who boosted England in an 11-minute cameo against Russia, came on after an hour.

She had barely arrived on the pitch, however, when Necib hit a sweetly-struck shot into the top corner, and then Renard headed in Necib's cross following a corner.

England pressed for a consolation, with White having a shot saved, but France were in a different class and claimed a deserved victory.

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