Women's International Friendlies
By Tom GarryBBC Sport

Head coach Phil Neville said he made a series of second-half substitutions in England's friendly win over Spain in order to see them "suffer".

Well-worked goals from Beth Mead and Ellen White put the Lionesses 2-0 up, before Spain halved the deficit through Barcelona's Aitana Bonmati on an entertaining night at Swindon Town's County Ground.

England, who lost their opening friendly against Canada and have two more before this summer's finals in France, then made five outfield changes later in the second half, but survived late pressure from the visitors ranked 13th in the world.

"I knew that the subs would break the rhythm of our team but I wanted to see how our back four would cope and how our midfield players would dig in," Neville told BBC Sport.

"For us to do well at a World Cup, there are going to be games when we're going to have to dig in and block shots. That's what I wanted to see.

"I felt we could do better because the next step is to dig in and show composure as well. We slashed at things too much, we just booted things clear, which I didn't want.

"But the scenario that we planned actually happened - Spain got us on the run, they were playing in pockets, and players were stretched.

"It was quite fun watching them stretched, out of their comfort zone, shattered and running from side to side. So it was a really good workout that went exactly as I wanted it to."

England experiment with two months to go

England, who are ranked third in the world and will be among the favourites in France this summer, made nine changes from Friday's underwhelming 1-0 defeat, with only Rachel Daly and Toni Duggan keeping their places in the starting side.

The majority of Neville's changes to the starting XI were seemingly experimental, but at least two were enforced, with captain Steph Houghton absent with a groin strain and goalkeeper Carly Telford withdrawn after suffering concussion in training.

Having rarely had the ball in an unsure opening 10 minutes, England grew into the first half and began to look very dangerous on the counter attack, with Mead being denied by a close-range save not long before her opener.

The Arsenal forward slid in to net the opener from Birmingham City striker White's first-time cross, and then just 40 seconds after half-time, White's clinical finish doubled the lead.

But Spain, who are ranked 13th in the world, responded well after a swathe of second-half substitutions from both sides.

They pulled a goal back after a skilful move in which they passed their way through a static Lionesses defence.

There was almost a late equaliser, after substitute keeper Mary Earps rushed out of her penalty area and unfortunately slipped, but Bonmati was unable to hit the target from range, as the hosts' defence scrambled back behind the Wolfsburg stopper to cover her.

Scott impresses in Swindon

Neville singled out Manchester City's Jill Scott for praise, on the night the Manchester City midfielder was captaining the Lionesses for the first time in 134 caps.

The midfielder missed February's SheBelieves Cup victory through injury, but looked back on form after setting up White's goal at the County Ground.

"I thought Jill Scott was unbelievable all night. She gave us composure in the final third and that's what we were looking for. We didn't have that against Canada."

England are back in action against Denmark on 25 May and New Zealand on 1 June before their first World Cup group game against Scotland on 9 June.



  • 25RoebuckSubstituted forEarpsat 45'minutes
  • 17DalySubstituted forBonnerat 67'minutes
  • 15Williamson
  • 6Bright
  • 3Greenwood
  • 20MooreSubstituted forStaniforthat 54'minutes
  • 22MeadSubstituted forParrisat 83'minutes
  • 8ScottBooked at 19mins
  • 19StanwaySubstituted forWalshat 67'minutes
  • 10DugganSubstituted forUbogaguat 54'minutes
  • 18White


  • 1Bardsley
  • 4Walsh
  • 7Parris
  • 9Taylor
  • 11Carney
  • 12Stokes
  • 14McManus
  • 16Ubogagu
  • 21Earps
  • 23Staniforth
  • 24Bonner


  • 13Paños
  • 7Corredera
  • 4ParedesSubstituted forAndrésat 52'minutes
  • 20Pereira
  • 16LeónBooked at 20minsSubstituted forOuahabiat 52'minutes
  • 15MeseguerSubstituted forTorrecillaat 39'minutes
  • 6LosadaSubstituted forSosaat 79'minutes
  • 11Putellas
  • 19SampedroSubstituted forBonmatíat 63'minutes
  • 10Hermoso
  • 9Caldentey


  • 2Jiménez
  • 3Ouahabi
  • 5Andrés
  • 8Torrejón
  • 12Sosa
  • 14Torrecilla
  • 17Latorre
  • 18Bonmatí
  • 21González
  • 22García
  • 23Quiñones
  • 24Guerrero

Match Stats

Home TeamEnglandAway TeamSpain
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, England 2, Spain Women 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, England 2, Spain Women 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, England. Conceded by Leila Ouahabi.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Leila Ouahabi (Spain Women).

  5. Post update

    Nikita Parris (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Leila Ouahabi (Spain Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexia Putellas.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Spain Women. Conceded by Nikita Parris.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Aitana Bonmatí (Spain Women) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, England. Nikita Parris replaces Beth Mead.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Alexia Putellas (Spain Women).

  11. Post update

    Keira Walsh (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alexia Putellas (Spain Women) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Aitana Bonmatí.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Beth Mead (England) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ellen White with a through ball.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Spain Women. Ángela Sosa replaces Vicky Losada.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Virginia Torrecilla (Spain Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mariona.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Ivana Andrés (Spain Women).

  17. Post update

    Ellen White (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alexia Putellas (Spain Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Vicky Losada.

  19. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  20. Post update

    Delay in match Mary Earps (England) because of an injury.