England’s hopes of reaching the U19 EURO semi-finals came to an end on Friday afternoon as the Young Lionesses lost 1-0 to Spain in Stirling.
Rehanne Skinner’s side knew they needed to avoid defeat if they were to stand any chance of heading into the last four, with their final group game against Belgium still to come on Monday.
But it wasn’t to be, as a first-half strike from Olga Carmona proved to be the difference between the teams.
The goal came in the 22nd minute, when Eva Navarro’s run and cross from the right picked out Carmona at the far post and she guided a low volley past Hannah Hampton.
The Lionesses had a half chance to draw level before the break, when Jessica Naz skipped past two defenders on the left before pulling the ball back to the edge of the box for Amy Rodgers whose shot was cleared.
Into the second half, England continued to press for a way back into the game and just after the hour mark Lauren James saw a close range effort blocked before Naz collected the loose ball and tried to set up Rodgers as Spain desperately cleared their lines.
There was always danger at the other end though, with Carmona on the left proving an effective outlet for Spain, who were happy to try and catch England on the break.
With Ebony Salmon on as a second-half substitute, the newly signed Bristol City striker added some pace to the attack, but with the clock running down England’s hopes were hit by a sending off for Lauren Hemp.
The Manchester City winger picked up a caution for a foul on Andujar, but then let frustration get the better of her and was shown a swift second yellow card for dissent to leave her side down to ten players for the last five minutes.
England will now take on Belgium in Perth on Monday, with a chance of finishing on a positive note.
England: 1 Hannah Hampton (Birmingham City), 3 Olivia Smith (University of Central Florida), 4 Aimee Palmer (Manchester United), 5 Esme Morgan (Manchester City) (c), 6 Georgia Eaton-Collins (University of Florida), 7 Lucy Fitzgerald (London City Lionesses), 8 Amy Rodgers (Liverpool), 9 Jessica Naz (Tottenham Hotspur), 11 Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), 14 Lauren James (Manchester United), 19 Asmita Ale (Aston Villa)
Substitutes: 16 Ebony Salmon (Bristol City) for Fitzgerald 56, 12 Ella Rutherford (Bristol City) for James 64, 18 Molly Pike (Everton) for Rodgers 85, 15 Niamh Cashin (Rider University) for Smith 85
Substitutes not used: 2 Grace Neville (London City Lionesses), 10 Emily Syme (Aston Villa), 13 Emily Ramsey (Manchester United), 17 Jessica Park (Manchester City), 20 Kiera Skeels (Reading)
Head coach: Rehanne Skinner