- goal scored by C. Press
- goal scored by C. Lloyd
- goal scored by C. Press
- goal scored by C. Lloyd
Nev aims for better
Lionesses boss wants his team to show their "ruthless" streak
Phil Neville wants to see his side become more ruthless in their performances, after seeing the Lionesses start their defence of the SheBelieves Cup with a defeat against USA.
England were undone by two quickfire goals in two second-half minutes in Orlando, with USA’s Christen Press and Carli Lloyd notching to give the reigning World Cup holders a winning start.
And while boss Neville admits his team were second-best on the night, he also knows where they need to improve with games against Japan and Spain to come.
"I don't see a team that lacked confidence in terms of the way we want to play, I see a team trying to play the right way and it feels as if we are so close but yet so far at this moment,” he admitted after the game.
“We had chances in the game, opportunities to be ruthless, and we didn't really commit to it."
"The first goal was a wonder goal, I was stood behind it, but the second was a lapse in concentration.”
The Lionesses held the States to a 2-2 draw on their way to winning the SheBelieves Cup last year, before suffering World Cup semi-final heartbreak against them last summer.
And Neville was keen to reinforce his team’s belief in front of goal after this set-back.
“We just need to start having that little bit of ruthlessness,” he added.
“It’s that ruthlessness that sets the best teams above the rest and we need to develop that.
“Until we start beating these teams consistently and challenging against them, then it’s still a big obstacle we have got to overcome.”
Neville has taken a young squad to the competition, as he continues planning for UEFA EURO 2021 on home soil next summer, and handed a first start to Lauren Hemp in the game.
And the Manchester City ace reflected on the experience she gained from the game.
"It was a really tough match and obviously getting my first start against the best team the world is massive,” said Hemp.
“It's these games that I want to be playing in, so I loved every minute of it and grew in confidence as the game went on. Now we need to go back to training and recover.
"That's probably the biggest game I've played in, standing out in that national anthem with all the fireworks going off.
“It's a moment where I was like: 'Wow, this is what international football is really like.' I'd love to be in more occasions like that and be one of the stars in the game."
By Nicholas Veevers
USA 2-0 England
Two second-half goals see Lionesses lose in Orlando
A two-minute lapse cost England their SheBelieves Cup opener against the USA as they were beaten 2-0 by the hosts.
Phil Neville’s side opened their defence with an end-to-end first half in Orlando but were ultimately undone early in the second half as the Americans scored twice in quick succession.
Christen Press fired a stunning strike past Carly Telford early in the second half before USA captain Carli Lloyd netted moments later to put the game beyond England.
Telford came to her country’s rescue for the first real opening of the game as she rushed out to smother the ball at Lindsey Horan’s feet before she could get a shot away.
Minutes later Alyssa Naeher was called into action at the other end as a well-worked corner saw Jill Scott flick an effort past the USA keeper but up onto the roof of the net.
Ellen White had her first sighter in the 26th minute but it was well saved and Keira Walsh found Nikita Parris with a glorious ball over the top but the Lyon forward was caught offside.
The best chance of the half however fell to the Americans as Tobin Heath cut the ball across the England penalty box and straight to the feet of Lloyd, who shot straight at Telford.
Parris then found herself in a brilliant position early in the second half but couldn’t get direct her effort on target.
And England were made to pay for it as Press broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute with a spectacular long-range effort that sailed into the far corner.
Just over a minute later Neville’s side found themselves two behind as Lloyd showed all her experience in beating the offside trap and firing past Telford.
Reigning Ballon d’Or holder Megan Rapinoe made her entrance shortly after the hour mark and had her moment to shine from a set-piece on 75 minutes but blasted the effort over the crossbar.
And just minutes after entering the fold Bethany England, who has been in fantastic form for Chelsea this season, controlled a cross well to set herself inside the box but opted for power over placement.
England will now face Japan on Sunday (8 March) and Spain on Wednesday (11 March) as they continue their title defence.
England: 1 Carly Telford (Chelsea), 14 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 5 Steph Houghton (Manchester City), 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 3 Alex Greenwood (Olympique Lyon), 4 Keira Walsh (Manchester City), 8 Jill Scott (Manchester City), 16 Georgia Stanway (Manchester City), 7 Nikita Parris (Olympique Lyon), 20 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), 18 Ellen White (Manchester City)
Substitutes: 10 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal) for Scott 65, 11 Toni Duggan (Atletico Madrid) for Stanway 70, 9 Bethany England (Chelsea) for White 78, 22 Chloe Kelly (Everton) for Parris 89