Lions' Euro preparations dented
Thursday, 16 July, 2009
England lose out to Iceland in Euro 2009 warm-up fixture.
As part of their warm-up for Euro 2009 Hope Powell’s England side took on Iceland in Colchester, but the match ended 2-0 to the visitors courtesy of goals from Holmfridur Magnusdottir and Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir.
Magnusdottir gave Iceland the lead with her left foot after 25 minutes and the impressive Vidarsdóttir sealed the victory in the closing stages.
Powell would have viewed this match, against Scandinavian opposition, as ideal preparation for the Euros as England are drawn alongside Sweden in the group stages and though the result was to prove disappointing, the experience gained could prove invaluable come August.
In front of 4,000 fans at the Weston Homes Community Stadium England began brightly, certainly in the opening ten minutes, before Iceland started to assert more pressure on the hosts’ rearguard. Vidarsdóttir attempted a half volley which was deflected wide for a corner. Vidarsdóttir directed the resulting corner goalwards, forcing a fine save from Siobhan Chamberlain in the England goal.
England’s first effort of note came from Jill Scott. The Everton midfielder met an Eniola Aluko cross with her head but it failed to trouble Thora Helgadottir. Less than ten minutes later Magnusdottir gave Iceland the lead, silencing the Essex crowd.
Despite the setback England continued to press with Aluko a constant threat. She attempted a curling shot from distance which floated wide before again finding Scott’s head with a centre but a corner was the only reward. It was from another corner minutes later that almost brought about an equaliser.
With half-time looming Faye White thundered her header goalwards, but she could only watch as it was hooked off the line by the Iceland defence. With England forcing the visitors on the back foot, it was to Iceland’s relief that they went in at the break one goal to the good.
England began the second half as they had ended the first. Rachel Yankey drove forward into the box, beating four players en route, only to see her shot blocked. However, just before the hour mark a powerful drive from Vidarsdóttir reminded England of the threat Iceland could pose if given time and space.
Indeed, on 81 minutes it was Vidarsdóttir who confirmed the victory with a well taken finish, slotting the ball under substitute ‘keeper, Carly Telford.
Despite the defeat, there were some positive moments for England. Rachel Williams, Dunia Susi and Gemma Davison all came off the bench to make their Senior debuts and will hope to get the a further chance to impress in the final friendly before the Euros begin, against Denmark next week.