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Belgium 3-3 England: Lionesses may need to 'suffer more pain' - Phil Neville

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Highlights: Belgium 3-3 England

England boss Phil Neville said his side might need to "suffer more pain" in future friendlies after they drew with Belgium in their first game since the World Cup.

Having led 2-0, Nikita Parris' late penalty saved England's embarrassment as they avoided a first defeat by the Red Flames since 1980.

England were sloppy in defence as the hosts, ranked 15 places below the Lionesses at 19 in the world, entertained a lively crowd in Leuven.

Neville said: "The goals were really disappointing in a week where we have worked hard on being compact and hard to beat and three crosses into the box beat us. I'm not happy.

"I feel that with the plan we have for the next three camps we might have to suffer some pain a little bit. But I don't want us to suffer pain in the areas we are working on. I want us to be better in those areas and that was the disappointment tonight."

The Lionesses began positively and Jodie Taylor opened the scoring from Georgia Stanway's through ball, before Beth Mead followed up after Taylor's shot was saved.

Steph Houghton then hit the post from a free-kick as the Lionesses threatened to run riot.

But poor defending let Belgium back into the game as goalkeeper Carly Telford scored an own goal and then Ella van Kerkhoven's header levelled matters on the stroke of half-time.

It got worse for Neville's side in the second half as Houghton's fluffed clearance fell straight to Van Kerkhoven to make it 3-2, before Parris' penalty earned a draw.

Neville said before the game that he was looking for improvement from his side after their fourth-place finish in France, but on this evidence there is plenty to work on as England play a series of friendlies in the build-up to hosting Euro 2021.

"We cannot waste time on any camp thinking: 'We will get it right at the Olympics, get it right at the SheBelieves Cup or Euro 2021,'" Neville added.

"While we are waiting, other teams are improving. We have to make sure we are improving faster than anybody else."

Sloppiness costs England

Prior to the match, Neville also said England were still "hurting" from their failure to make it past the World Cup semi-finals and had an "incredible desire" to do better.

But there were several periods of sloppiness which were also a feature of some games in France, and it is a trait the team can ill-afford if they have designs of winning a gold medal in two years' time.

The Lionesses were missing several key players through injury, including Ellen White, Jill Scott and Fran Kirby, as Lucy Bronze, who became the first English player to win Uefa's Women's player of the year award, moved into midfield.

Neville said there "was a never a moment in the game where Bronze looked like a full-back playing in midfield" and it was a strong England side, who once again were clinical but failed to manage the game once taking the lead.

The match was characterised by a home fan who attempted to stir the team on her own via a megaphone as they fell behind to two slick England goals.

As Stanway's clever pass set up Taylor, Mead seemingly put England in control and Houghton rattled the woodwork, the supporter was an isolated voice.

But by the end of the first half, she had the stand she occupied rocking after England let their lead slip and then went behind.

Thankfully for the visitors, Parris helped them avoid a terrible start to their Euro 2021 campaign as she slammed home a penalty after Janice Cayman's handball.

Having missed two at the World Cup it was at least one sign that some lessons had been learned.

Williams extends cap record

On a chaotic night for England, Fara Williams came on during the second half to extend her caps record to 171 and she did help to steady things for England later on in the game.

Chelsea forward Beth England made her debut from the bench and impressed Neville, but there were still chances for Belgium as Tine de Caigny's shot was blocked late on.

The worrying aspect for Neville will be that his side also suffered friendly defeats by teams ranked lower than them in the build-up to the World Cup.

At the time, he brushed them off saying England would come good in the World Cup, which they did to some degree based on the record TV audiences which followed them to their third successive semi-final at a major tournament.

However, the inclusion of 35-year-old Williams underlined the limited midfield resources that Neville has at his disposal.

With Scott rested and Jordan Nobbs and Izzy Christiansen still recovering from long-term injuries, Neville needs them back in the team.

The England head coach, who has said he will pick players based on their character, also needs to ensure his players can concentrate for longer periods in games.

There will be no inquest given it is a first game of the season, but Neville will want England to improve when they face Norway in their next friendly game in Bergen on Tuesday.

Player of the match - Ella van Kerkhoven (Belgium)

Ella van Kerkhoven (number 3) celebrates scoring against England
Van Kerkhoven starred for her side and was in the right place to capitalise on poor defending to score twice

Line-ups

Belgium

  • 21Evrard
  • 22DelooseSubstituted forMissipoat 76'minutes
  • 4JaquesSubstituted forVande Veldeat 79'minutes
  • 18De NeveSubstituted forVanhaevermaetat 66'minutes
  • 2PhiltjensBooked at 16minsSubstituted forVan Belleat 66'minutes
  • 11Cayman
  • 20BiesmansBooked at 29mins
  • 6De Caigny
  • 13DhontSubstituted forVanmechelenat 45'minutes
  • 3Van Kerkhoven
  • 9WullaertSubstituted forVan Gorpat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Odeurs
  • 5Van Belle
  • 7Van Gorp
  • 8Onzia
  • 10Vanhaevermaet
  • 12Lemey
  • 14Vanmechelen
  • 15Petry
  • 16Minnaert
  • 17Coutereels
  • 19Vande Velde
  • 23Missipo

England

  • 1TelfordSubstituted forEarpsat 63'minutes
  • 2Daly
  • 5Houghton
  • 14McManusBooked at 90mins
  • 3Stokes
  • 4WalshSubstituted forWilliamsonat 87'minutes
  • 7ParrisSubstituted forStaniforthat 75'minutes
  • 8Bronze
  • 19StanwaySubstituted forWilliamsat 56'minutes
  • 17Mead
  • 9TaylorSubstituted forEnglandat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Bright
  • 10Williams
  • 11Duggan
  • 12Blundell
  • 13Earps
  • 15Williamson
  • 16Moore
  • 18England
  • 20Mannion
  • 21Roebuck
  • 22Patten
  • 23Staniforth

Match Stats

Home TeamBelgiumAway TeamEngland
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home7
Away13
Shots on Target
Home5
Away9
Corners
Home3
Away3
Fouls
Home17
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Belgium Women 3, England 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Belgium Women 3, England 3.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match because of an injury Kassandra Missipo (Belgium Women).

Booking

Abbie McManus (England) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Abbie McManus (England).

Kassandra Missipo (Belgium Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Fara Williams (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Kassandra Missipo (Belgium Women).

Attempt missed. Beth England (England) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Lucy Staniforth.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Leah Williamson replaces Keira Walsh.

Substitution

Substitution, Belgium Women. Elke Van Gorp replaces Tessa Wullaert.

Attempt blocked. Tine De Caigny (Belgium Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Foul by Demi Stokes (England).

Janice Cayman (Belgium Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Beth England (England) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Beth Mead with a cross.

Corner, Belgium Women. Conceded by Demi Stokes.

Foul by Fara Williams (England).

Kassandra Missipo (Belgium Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Beth Mead (England) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Tessa Wullaert (Belgium Women).

Lucy Bronze (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Chloe Vande Velde (Belgium Women).

Substitution

Substitution, Belgium Women. Chloe Vande Velde replaces Heleen Jaques.

Attempt saved. Beth England (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lucy Staniforth.

Rachel Daly (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ella Van Kerkhoven (Belgium Women).

Substitution

Substitution, Belgium Women. Kassandra Missipo replaces Laura Deloose.

Foul by Beth Mead (England).

Laura Deloose (Belgium Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Beth England replaces Jodie Taylor.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Lucy Staniforth replaces Nikita Parris.

Goal!

Goal! Belgium Women 3, England 3. Nikita Parris (England) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

Penalty conceded by Janice Cayman (Belgium Women) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Rachel Daly (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Davinia Vanmechelen (Belgium Women).

Substitution

Substitution, Belgium Women. Shari Van Belle replaces Davina Philtjens.

Substitution

Substitution, Belgium Women. Justine Vanhaevermaet replaces Laura De Neve.

Substitution

Substitution, England. Mary Earps replaces Carly Telford.

Beth Mead (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 29th August 2019

As It Stood

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