Mark Sampson looks at bigger picture after Germany defeat

Monday 07 Mar 2016
Mark Sampson has lost just nine of his 34 matches in charge

Mark Sampson said England are better equipped to win Euro 2017 after their last two matches, against Germany and USA at the SheBelieves Cup.

The Lionesses lost 2-1 to Silvia Neid’s side in Nashville, courtesy of a Gilly Flaherty own goal and a debatable Babett Peter penalty late on.

Toni Duggan had headed England in front on nine minutes.

England 1-2 Germany

The SheBelieves Cup
Sunday 6 March
Nissan Stadium, Nashville

The defeat came just three days after a 1-0 reverse against world champions USA.

But Sampson believes his players and staff have learned some valuable lessons.

He said: “I’m pleased in a way because to compete against the two best teams in the world inside three days bodes well for a major championship.

“Players are hurting now, but our aim is to win the European Championship. Are we closer to winning the European Championship after the last two games? Absolutely. We’ve just got to make sure we keep the bigger picture in mind.

“The lessons we are learning in this tournament are incredible. As hard as it is now we have to take those lessons and keep moving forward. 

“These experiences will be important to us in terms of getting results at the Euros.”

He continued: “Unfortunately we’ve been on the end of two bad penalty calls. We should have had a penalty against America and it wasn’t a penalty [against Germany].

“If they are the only goals Germany can score past our English defence then we must be doing something right. At the other end we were far more threatening. We scored a good goal off a set piece so I’m pleased with that and I’m pleased for Toni as well.

“It’s really hard for us to accept, but we have to look at the positives and try and get better.”

England’s final match at this inaugural friendly tournament is against France, ranked third in the world, in Boca Raton, Florida on Wednesday night (10pm GMT).

The Lionesses haven’t beaten France since 1974 and they lost to Les Bleus at last summer’s World Cup in Canada.

But Sampson has asked his players for a big performance against Philippe Bergeroo’s side, who, like England, have suffered two defeats at the SheBelieves Cup.

He said: “We respect France hugely. They are an incredible team. How they lost both those games I’ll never know.

“We want to do better than we did [against Germany] and better than we did against USA. If we do that and we get the rub of the green I’m confident that we’ll get a result.

“We have to manage it again and try and put in an even better performance.”

Sampson reserved a word of praise for midfielder Fara Williams, who, against Germany made her 150th England appearance.

Fara Williams has earned a record 148 England caps

Fara Williams made her England debut against Portugal in November 2001

He said: “We are all as proud of Fara’s achievement as she is.

“To get 150 caps for your country in whatever sport is an incredible achievement. If you look at any other sportsperson who has 150 caps for their country it is going to be an elite group and some of the best sportspeople the world has ever seen.

“I know her family were watching back home and they were probably crying in front of the TV when she led the team out.

“I’m pretty sure if you’d have asked Fara what she wanted when she got her first England cap it wouldn’t have been goals, or to get the bright lights and the media attention. It would have been two things. It would have been the respect of her fellow professionals, and she’s certainly got that. Every player in the game knows Fara is world class.

“The other thing she’d have wanted is to play in an England team that is the best it has ever been, and I strongly believe that is what Fara is a part of right now; a team that is ready to go and win something.

“What an achievement. What a player. What a person.”

By Glenn Lavery in Nashville, Tennessee