Women's International Friendlies
Czech Rep WomCzech Republic2EnglandEngland3

Czech Republic 2-3 England: Leah Williamson's late goal gives Lionesses win

By Tom GarryBBC Sport in Ceske Budejovice

England head coach Phil Neville said his side "should be beating the Czech Republic by more" after Leah Williamson's late goal saw the Lionesses end their 2019 fixtures with a scrappy victory.

Arsenal defender Williamson's first senior international goal - a deflected winner from outside the box - gave England a narrow win as snow fell on a wet and slippery pitch.

It is the Lionesses' second win from their six friendlies since this summer's Women's World Cup, easing some of the pressure on Neville, but their disjointed defending showed hard work lies ahead in 2020.

The Czechs, ranked 28th in the world, scored twice through Slavia Prague forward Tereza Szewieczkova in a poor first-half Lionesses' display, either side of quickfire, clinical finishes from Beth England and Beth Mead.

The Lionesses should have had a penalty when Arsenal's Mead was bundled over in the area as they improved significantly in the second half, but they are still yet to rediscover the form that propelled them to the World Cup semi-finals.

"We got the win, that's what I demanded," Neville told BBC Sport.

"We should be beating Czech Republic by more than 3-2. We dominated the second half but we were careless in possession and with the final ball or cross.

"Now the hard work starts for after Christmas, getting back to the level they and I know we can achieve. I'm looking forward now to the hard work and getting back to the level I know we can."

Late strike gives England relief

England had appeared to be labouring towards another disappointing result, having lost five of their previous seven games since reaching July's semi-finals in France.

Playing just 72 hours after 77,768 cheered them on at Wembley in a 2-1 loss to Germany, the Lionesses were in front of merely hundreds in Ceske Budejovice, in a flat atmosphere and freezing conditions.

That contrast in the stands between the two games was theoretically supposed to be mirrored by the contrast between the oppositions, with Neville's side ranked joint fifth in the world.

Yet England made a poor start and fell behind when playmaker Katerina Svitkova had space and time to slip a fine through-ball to her Slavia Prague team-mate Szewieczkova to slot home, with England having already been let off from earlier chances.

The Lionesses responded quickly to lead through England's volley and Mead's curling finish, but Szewieczkova soon made it 2-2 with a terrific strike from long range.

In the absence of captain Steph Houghton and striker Ellen White - both rested - England needed inspiration, with Neville having called his side's form "totally unacceptable" after their loss to Germany.

Neville added: "We wanted to finish [the year] on some kind of win. The players have put an unbelievable effort in in the last 12 months

"We know the last three months haven't been good enough from the team and me but we shouldn't take anything away from the last 12 months, in terms of where we've taken women's football."

Of England's 20 games in this calendar year, they have won 11, drawn two and lost seven.

It is a year that will predominantly be remembered for the Lionesses' run to the last four of the World Cup and Neville's side also won the invitational SheBelieves Cup for the first time in March.

And while their final match of 2019 has left them with plenty of thinking to do over the winter, Williamson's late strike will have given the travelling camp a lift, with more than three months to wait until the squad next regroup in late February.

Line-ups

Czech Rep Wom

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Votíková
  • 22Jarchovská
  • 4Bertholdová
  • 8Sedlácková
  • 3Sonntágová
  • 12Cahynová
  • 9Vonková
  • 10Svitková
  • 7Martinkova
  • 17SzewieczkováSubstituted forKhyrovaat 71'minutes
  • 21StaskovaSubstituted forDubcovaat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Khyrova
  • 11Dubcova
  • 13Chlastáková
  • 15Ringelová
  • 16Ruzickova
  • 18Dubcova
  • 19Necidova
  • 20Nepokojová
  • 23Lukasova

England

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Telford
  • 2Bronze
  • 6Bright
  • 5Williamson
  • 3Stokes
  • 4Walsh
  • 7ParrisSubstituted forHempat 64'minutes
  • 8Scott
  • 10StaniforthSubstituted forNobbsat 76'minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 11Mead
  • 9EnglandSubstituted forDalyat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12Daly
  • 13Earps
  • 14Nobbs
  • 15McManus
  • 16Bonner
  • 17Stanway
  • 18Hemp
  • 21Roebuck
Referee:
Ewa Augustyn

Match Stats

Home TeamCzech Rep WomAway TeamEngland
Possession
Home36%
Away64%
Shots
Home8
Away18
Shots on Target
Home3
Away8
Corners
Home0
Away9
Fouls
Home15
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Czech Republic Women 2, England 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Czech Republic Women 2, England 3.

  3. Post update

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

  4. Post update

    Foul by Michaela Khyrova (Czech Republic Women).

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Foul by Andrea Jarchovská (Czech Republic Women).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Lucy Bronze (England).

  8. Post update

    Klára Cahynová (Czech Republic Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Czech Republic Women 2, England 3. Leah Williamson (England) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner following a corner.

  10. Post update

    Corner, England. Conceded by Petra Bertholdová.

  11. Post update

    Corner, England. Conceded by Petra Bertholdová.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Czech Republic Women. Kamila Dubcova replaces Andrea Staskova.

  13. Post update

    Jill Scott (England) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Andrea Staskova (Czech Republic Women).

  15. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Michaela Khyrova (Czech Republic Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Andrea Staskova with a headed pass.

  16. Booking

    Jordan Nobbs (England) is shown the yellow card.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Nobbs (England).

  18. Post update

    Lucie Martinkova (Czech Republic Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Corner, England. Conceded by Jana Sedlácková.

  20. Post update

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

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