Women's Euro 2013: England did not perform - Hope Powell

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport in Linkoping, Sweden
England must learn from errors - Powell

England head coach Hope Powell said her team "didn't perform at all" after what she called a "crushing" defeat by Spain in their Euro 2013 opener.

Powell's side looked to have recovered a point when they came from behind twice with Laura Bassett grabbing a second equaliser with five minutes left.

But goalkeeper Karen Bardsley's injury-time own goal handed Spain a shock 3-2 victory, their first over England in 17 years.

"It's very disappointing. To go behind and come back, not once but twice, and then to lose it in the dying seconds is crushing," Powell said.

England stunned by late Spain winner

Bardsley's own goal came when she was put under pressure by substitute Alexia Putellas following Adriana's cross, with the ball going in off her head.

Powell, though, refused to blame the Lincoln City keeper, who earlier flapped at a looping cross with Vicky Losada striking the bar.

"I'm not going to single out one player," an upset Powell added. "It is a disappointing night for everybody. There are 11 players on the pitch. I can't single out one when we didn't perform at all.

"We were very nervous in the first half especially. We just didn't perform. Our touch was off, there were too many unforced errors but give credit to Spain, they probably deserved it on the night.

"They have been playing well and drawing with Germany in qualifying gave them a lot of confidence. They came into the tournament probably not expecting to progress given their rating."

It was only the second time England have lost to Spain, who are ranked 11 places below them in the Fifa world rankings, and it comes after Powell said her side were technically as good as the English men's side. It is also a second consecutive defeat following a 4-1 thrashing by hosts Sweden, although that was a pre-tournament friendly.

The loss means Powell's side, who reached the Euro 2009 final, will have to win their next game against Russia on Monday, given that they will have to face second favourites for the tournament, France, in their last group game.

England have never beaten France, who began their campaign with a 3-1 win over Russia, but with the top two in each of the three Euro 2013 groups being joined in the last eight by the two best third-placed teams, there could yet be a lifeline for Powell's team.

Powell, 47, admitted afterwards that her squad would need to be "frank" with each other in order to pick themselves up for their next match.

And despite Eniola Aluko replying to Veronica Boquete's early strike and Bassett countering Jennifer Hermoso's finish, Powell said her side now needed a big improvement.

"The players couldn't say much afterwards, they were very distraught and rightly so," she explained. "They have just lost a very important game and now we need to dig ourselves out of a hole.

"We have two games left and if we want to progress then we know what we have to do. The players are not silly. They know they didn't perform. There will be a few frank discussions now and we will have to right the wrongs."

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