- goal scored by F. Kirby
- goal scored by K. Asllani
- goal scored by S. Jakobsson
- goal scored by F. Kirby
goal scored by
- K. Asllani goal scored by
- S. Jakobsson
The Lionesses finish fourth at France 2019
England were unable to match their bronze-medal heroics of four years ago as goals by Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson allowed Sweden to edge the Lionesses to a third-place finish at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Asllani opened the scoring on 11 minutes and Jakobsson doubled the advantage midway through the first half.
Fran Kirby reduced arrears just after the half-hour mark before tournament joint-top goalscorer Ellen White was once again denied by VAR.
Phil Neville’s side couldn’t find an equaliser in the second half and they leave France as the fourth-best team in the world.
Despite this disappointing denouement, the Lionesses’ performances and results over the last four weeks have once again captivated a nation.
From their opening-day defeat of Scotland and three wins from three in the group, through to the knockout-stage victories over Cameroon and Norway, they made headlines on both the front and back pages, attracting record TV audiences on the BBC.
They couldn’t quite find a way past USA, the holders, in the semi-final and the third-place play-off didn’t quite go their way, but there is no doubt the women’s game in England is in a much healthier position now than it was at the beginning of June, thanks in no small part to Neville’s inspirational squad.
And there has been no player as inspirational over the last decade as Karen Carney, who came off the bench to make her 144th and final England appearance, after the 31-year-old announced her retirement from football on Friday.
A Fara Williams penalty helped the Lionesses achieve a podium finish at Canada 2015 but their efforts to repeat that famous victory were not helped by a sloppy opening to the game.
An action-packed first half was kick-started by Asllani’s third goal of the tournament as the former Manchester City striker put Sweden ahead. Greenwood failed to deal with Fridolina Rolfo’s deep cross and her half-clearance was pounced on by Asllani, who fired the loose ball into the back of the net.
Carly Telford then tipped a Jakobsson effort onto the foot of the post – but Sweden’s No10 made amends with her next effort, bending a delicious right-foot shot into the far corner to double her side’s lead.
And with the Scandinavians threatening to run away with things, Kirby stalled their momentum by curling left-footed beyond her former Chelsea club mate Hedvig Lindahl to haul her side right back into the contest.
White thought she had levelled matters just seconds later with an excellent turn and finish, but England’s record World Cup goalscorer was denied by VAR for the second match in a row, this time for an alleged handball just before she pulled the trigger.
The next time White was in the clear, after being played in by Nikita Parris, her low, angled effort was saved by Lindahl’s legs.
With the rigours of a long tournament perhaps taking its toll, the second half was far less eventful than the first.
Neither Telford nor Lindahl were overly troubled after the break with the best second-half chances coming towards the end when the game became stretched.
Nilla Fischer headed a Lucy Bronze volley off the line in the final minute just moments before Telford denied Blackstenius at the other end.
With the Euro 2021 finals being staged in England, the Lionesses will not have to qualify for the tournament. Instead, they are lining up a series of high-profile fixtures, with a trip to Norway in early September the first one in the schedule.
And then it’s the big one; Germany at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 9 November.
FULL TIME: The whistle is sounded and England just come up short in Nice as Sweden claim the bronze medal.
90: So close from Lucy Bronze! Sweden fail to clear an England corner and the right-back thumps a volley goalwards - only to see Nilla Fischer get back to head off the line.
83: Once last throw of the dice by Neville as he replaces McManus with Rachel Daly.
74: A special moment for a very special player as Karen Carney comes on for Nikita Parris for her 144th and final appearance in an England shirt.
50: A first change for England as Jodie Taylor replaces Beth Mead.
45+5: White is played in by Kirby, but Lindahl denies the sharpshooter with a good save with her legs.
33: For the second match in succession, Ellen White has a goal disallowed after a VAR review. She thinks she has levelled matters after collecting Beth Mead's cross, but the goal is ruled out for handball.
31: GOAL! Kirby halves the deficit after being found out wide by Jill Scott. England’s No10 cuts inside and bends a shot beyond her former Blues club mate and into the far corner.
23: Lucy Bronze attempts to get Neville’s charges back into the match straight away but her 25-yard effort is very well saved by former Chelsea keeper Hedvig Lindahl.
22: Goal for Sweden. Jakobsson collects Stina Blackstenius’s pass on the inside left channel, advances into the England box and curls a lovely right-foot shot into the far corner to double her side’s lead.
16: Sweden find space down the right as Sofia Jakobsson gets in behind Greenwood, but her shot is tipped onto the post by Telford and the ricochet goes behind for a corner.
11: Goal for Sweden. Greenwood fails to clear a cross to the far post allowing Kosovare Asllani to pounce on the loose ball and rifle a low shot past Carly Telford.
01: The Lionesses get things up and running in Nice.
Phil Neville has made four changes to the side that lost 2-1 to USA in the semi-finals, with Abbie McManus coming in for the suspended Millie Bright, Alex Greenwood replacing Demi Stokes at left-back, Fran Kirby being recalled in place of Rachel Daly and Keira Walsh making way for Jade Moore to earn her 50th senior cap.
It will be Karen Carney’s last-ever match as a professional footballer after announcing her retirement on Friday.
England go head-to-head with Sweden in the FIFA Women’s World Cup third-place play-off.