Women's Euro 2017 qualifying: England 1-1 Belgium

By Patrick JenningsBBC Sport

Jill Scott's late equaliser earned England women a 1-1 draw at home to Belgium in their Euro 2017 qualifier.

Belgium went ahead when goalkeeper Karen Bardsley's missed clearance let Janice Cayman slot into an empty net.

It was the first goal England had conceded in a home qualifier in almost 14 years, and for a long time afterwards their performance was flat.

But with five minutes to play Scott prodded home Karen Carney's blocked header to earn a point in Rotherham.

The result lifted England up to second in Group 7, one point behind leaders Belgium.

Mark Sampson's side, who have a game in hand on Belgium and third-placed Serbia, travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday, when Belgium meet Estonia.

The eight group winners and the six best runners-up qualify for the finals, while the other two group runners-up go to a play-off in October to join the Netherlands in the 16-team tournament.

'A blip in women's goalkeeping'

Bardsley's mistake was the game's major talking point until Scott's equaliser.

The Manchester City keeper had plenty of time to cope with a long, bouncing ball forward but failed to connect with a rushed attempted clearance on the edge of the penalty area. Cayman nipped in to slide home.

Former England keeper Rachel Brown-Finnis, watching in the BBC studio, said: "It was a really uncharacteristic error from Karen.

"It's disappointing that tonight will be highlighted as negatively as it will be for goalkeeping in the women's game, because the standard really is much improved.

"Certainly at the World Cup last summer there were many examples of how far female goalkeepers have progressed - the standard has come on a lot. Tonight is a blip."

Will Bardsley keep her place?

England manager Mark Sampson: "Change Karen Bardsley? No chance.

"She has been outstanding for this team. She is a superb goalkeeper. She has bailed us out many times. We'll give her that one and she will be back for Tuesday.

"We wanted to win, so it's a disappointing result for us. Credit to Belgium - they were well organised, physical, and showed great character.

"We came back from a strange goal to get an equaliser and were unfortunate not to win it in the end.

"On another night we could have scored five or six but we just didn't execute our final ball."

Belgium a rising force in women's game

Before the match England manager Mark Sampson described Belgium as "an up-and-coming women's football nation".

Ranked 28th in Fifa's rankings, they have never qualified for the World Cup or the European Championship.

But their results against Euro 2017 Group 7 rivals Bosnia-Herzegovina, and now their performance against England, suggest that will soon change.

Ives Serneels's side hammered Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-0 at home and 5-0 away in their first two matches of this qualification campaign. In comparison, England managed a 1-0 win.

Although their opening goal at the New York Stadium was fortunate, Belgium were good value for their lead for much of the match, defending solidly and occasionally threatening on the break as Bardsley impressed with some fine handling and alert reactions.

England may have salvaged a point through Scott, but this was not the kind of performance expected of a team that finished third in last summer's World Cup in Canada.

Player of the match - Karen Carney (England)

Karen Carney
The first of Sampson's substitutes changed the game, injecting impetus into the England attack after the break - and it was her blocked header that fell to Scott for the equaliser

England: Bardsley, Alex Scott, Houghton, Stoney, Greenwood, Williams, Nobbs, Chapman (Davison 78), Stokes (Carney 56), Jill Scott, Duggan (Aluko 64).

Subs not used: Bronze, Telford, Bassett, Flaherty.

Booked: Greenwood

Goals: Scott 84.

Belgium: Odeurs, Deloose, Zeler, Jaques, Van De Putte, Biesmans, Onzia, De Caigny (Yuceil 90), Cayman, Coutereels, Wullaert (Schryvers 90+5)

Subs not used: Evrard, Philtjens, De Gernier, Coryn, Van Wynendaele

Booked: Coutereels

Goals: Cayman 18.

Att: 10,550

Ref: Gyongyi Gaal (Hungary)

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 8th April 2016

As It Stood


3Slovenia Women4103412-83
4Belarus Women4103212-103
5Macedonia Women4004120-190


2Finland Women32014226
3R. of Ireland Wom42027616
5Montenegro Women4004119-180


2Ukraine Women5311116510
3Romania Women52128717
4Greece Women5203912-36
5Albania Women6006322-190


3Poland Women42115417
4Slovakia Women52038626
5Moldova Women5005118-170


2Croatia Women52128537
3Hungary Women5212414-107
5Turkey Women6015121-201


3Czech Rep Wom310248-43
4N Ireland Wom210148-43
5Georgia Women4004116-150


3Serbia Women42115237
4Bos-Herze Wom5203512-76
5Estonia Women4004016-160


4Israel Women402224-22
5Kazakhstan Women5014116-151
View full Women's European Championship Qualifying tables

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