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Neville’s England record a mixed bag as the Lionesses’ win in Austria and suffer a loss at home against Sweden.

With a 3-0 win and two goals from players making their senior debuts in Austria the Lionesses’ international campaign ends on a sour note with a 2-0 defeat against Sweden. It was their first home loss since 2015 when they lost 1-0 to the United States at Stadium MK.

 

Here are five things we’ve learned.

1.Steph Houghton (finally) gets her 100th cap.

England Captain Steph Houghton received her 100th cap in front of a sold out crowd in Rotherham. She was benched during Thursday’s game against Austria as manager Phil Neville wanted her to recieve her cap at the home match against Sweden. Houghton, who also captains Manchester City is the 11th woman to collect 100 caps. Houghton received her first call up in 2007, and made her debut against Russia in which the Lionesses’ secured a 6-0 win. She became captain of the England squad in January 2014.

“She is respected by the players and I don’t think she realises just how much respect she’s got within football. That’s why I want Sunday to be about Steph Houghton,” said manager Phil Neville prior to Sunday’s friendly.

2. Here come the new girls

While a more established side was selected to play for Sunday’s match against Sweden, on Thursday night’s match against Austria,  Phil Neville awarded four players their senior debut: Chioma Ubogagu, Georgia Stanway both of whom were in the starting XI and Chloe Kelly and Ellie Roebuck who came on as substitutes.
Ubogagu, currently on loan at Brisbane Roar from Orlando Pride, opened her account with a goal on the 26th minute. She shined throughout the match until she was replaced by Rachel Daly who scored the final goal for the Lionesses’ in the 81st minute. 

Despite playing for the United States as a youth player (with whom she won the 2012 Under-20s Women’s World Cup), London-born Ubogagu has chosen to represent the country of her birth and from this impressive start she will be a much welcome addition.

 

Nineteen year old Georgia Stanway, a joint top goal scorer during this summer’s U20 world cup, put herself on the scoresheet during the 71st minute when she put the ball into the top corner, following an assist by Nikita Parris.

3. England still have work to do before the World Cup

Having lost to 9th in the world Sweden, adding another loss to their head to head record which now is 14 losses out of 24 meetings. This added to a loss against the United States and a draw against Germany ranked first and second in the world, respectively, suggests England are still struggling against the top teams. Currently ranked third the world, despite a friendly victory over Brazil, England have been found wanting when faced with quality opposition.

4. Phil Neville an invaluable asset to the Lionesses

As the Lionesses’ 2018 international campaign comes to a muted close, manager Phil Neville deserves plaudits for his work with squad. His “old school” yet hands on approach (he contacts each of his players individually on a daily basis via whatsapp) has been much appreciated by his squad and former players alike. Speaking to Vogue, former England goal keeper Rachel Brown Finnis stated, “he’s lived and breathed – on the men’s side – the expectation at a tournament”, which will be invaluable in 2019.

 

5. England’s fans will be vital to World Cup hopes

Despite being 2-0 down from the from the first half, the fans stood resolute behind the Lionesses, encouraging them on even as the clock ticked down, and defeat looked inevitable.

Despite not being able to pull it back this time, it is this sort of behaviour from the fans that will be of assistance to England during next year’s World Cup.

With a vocal minority of fans intent on causing trouble, it seems clear the men’s game could learn something from the patriotism and support on display. A display which is particularly potent given it is Remembrance Sunday.

The post 5 THINGS LEARNED FROM ENGLAND WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL BREAK appeared first on Squawka News.

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