England Women’s final World Cup warm-up match ended in a 1-0 defeat by New Zealand at Brighton’s Amex Stadium.
Sarah Gregorius scored the only goal of the game as the All Whites picked up a maiden victory over their hosts.
Phil Neville’s side dominated for large spells but found New Zealand a tough nut to crack. Player of the match Erin Nayler was impressive in the visitors’ goal, making a host of routine saves and plucking a number of high crosses from the air.
England’s France 2019 campaign begins against Scotland on Sunday 9 June. Then it’s Argentina on Friday 14 June followed by 2011 winners Japan five days later.
- Road to France series
- Saturday 1 June
- Amex Stadium, Brighton
Jodie Taylor replaced Ellen White as England’s No9 and was the Lionesses’ brightest spark early on.
The Seattle Reign striker had a shout for a penalty when she went to ground after contact by Nayler. Referee Monika Mularczyk was unmoved.
Taylor then pounced on a loose back pass by Rosie White only for Nayler to rush out and block the shot, and save her team-mate’s blushes.
Betsy Hassett, who was once on Manchester City’s books, had the visitors’ only chance of the first half, but Carly Telford was alert and tipped the effort over the top.
New Zealand, who will face Canada, Netherlands and Cameroon at the World Cup, began the second half much better than they did the first, and scored just five minutes after the restart.
Telford was unable to keep hold of Rosie White’s angled 18-yard shot and Gregorius, who scored against England at the 2011 World Cup, tucked away the rebound to silence the 20,000 fans inside the Amex.
The hosts, who made a number of second-half changes, rallied and peppered the visitors’ goal but not many of the efforts overly troubled Nayler.
Karen Carney was called from the bench, in place of Duggan, and was denied at the near post shortly before Jill Scott, another substitute, headed a deep cross just wide of the far post.
The Lionesses continued to push forward in search of the equaliser but Tom Sermanni’s side held firm.
England (4-2-3-1): 13 Carly Telford (Chelsea); 2 Lucy Bronze (Lyon), 5 Steph Houghton (capt; Manchester City), 15 Abbie McManus (Manchester United), 3 Alex Greenwood (Manchester United); 23 Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City), 4 Keira Walsh (Manchester City); 7 Nikita Parris (Lyon), 10 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 11 Toni Duggan (Barcelona); 9 Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign).
Substitutes: 20 Karen Carney (Chelsea) for Duggan 54, 22 Beth Mead (Arsenal) for Parris 68, 8 Jill Scott (Manchester City) for Staniforth 68, 18 Ellen White (Manchester City) for Taylor 75, 19 Georgia Stanway (Manchester City) for Walsh 89.
Substitutes not used: 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 12 Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 14 Leah Williamson (Arsenal), 16 Jade Moore (Reading), 17 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 21 Mary Earps (Wolfsburg).
Head coach: Phil Neville
Referee: Monika Mularczyk (POL)