England were “a little sloppy” and should have scored more goals against Olympic champions Canada in their opening match of the Arnold Clark Cup, says manager Sarina Wiegman.
Millie Bright gave the Lionesses the lead with an excellent volley at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium before Manchester City’s Janine Beckie equalised for Canada with an equally stunning goal.
It was the first time England played a side ranked in the world’s top 10 under Wiegman and, while there were plenty of positives, the Lionesses boss thought there was also room for improvement.
“I think we played a very good first half. We dominated and created chances but unfortunately only scored one,” added Wiegman, who took charge in September 2021.
“We were a little sloppy at some points. We should have scored more. In the second half we suffered a little more and had to get connected again.”
The Lionesses remain unbeaten in seven games under Wiegman. This was their toughest test so far, albeit against a Canada side who had several of their players in pre-season training ahead of their domestic campaign.
England face Spain and Germany, who also drew 1-1 in their meeting, on Sunday and next Wednesday respectively.
England show promise but lack ruthlessness
Against a side ranked sixth in the world, England showed plenty of encouragement in the first half.
Lauren Hemp was a threat from the first minute, linking up well with Manchester City team-mate Demi Stokes, while Fran Kirby made numerous runs in behind.
Leah Williamson and Keira Walsh were lively and creative in a new-look midfield duo and England were unfortunate not to be further ahead at the break.
They had a real intent and identity to their attacking play but lacked control in the second half as Canada pushed forward and showed greater ambition.
The visitors were able to get in behind on several occasions, with Bright making some key blocks inside the box.
Wiegman praised the impact Bright had at both ends of the pitch.
“Her contribution was absolutely huge,” she said. “She scored a goal and was very important in defence. She feels really comfortable in our team.”
England still had opportunities in the second half, with substitute Nikita Parris having a shot blocked from close range after Hemp had raced in behind, only for her strike to be parried away by goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.
Arsenal striker Parris also had a late penalty appeal rejected when she went down in the box in stoppage time.
Wiegman said England must use this tournament as an opportunity to learn ahead of the home European Championship in the summer and they were certainly tested more out of possession in the second half.
“Collectively, as a group, it’s a new slate and a fresh journey,” said goalscorer Bright.
“Everyone is bringing their club form into camp and playing their best. When players are comfortable and happy, that’s when you see their good performances.”
There are still tougher tests to come for England against Spain – considered one of the favourites to win the Euros – and Germany, who the Lionesses face in Wolverhampton next week.
All-in-all, the hosts showed glimpses of what they can offer under Wiegman, but essentially lacked the ruthlessness needed to claim victory at the Riverside Stadium.
- 2DalySubstituted forBronzeat 65′minutes
- 5GreenwoodSubstituted forCarterat 65′minutes
- 8WilliamsonSubstituted forParrisat 65′minutes
- 10TooneSubstituted forStanwayat 45′minutes
- 22RussoSubstituted forWhiteat 75′minutes
- 11HempSubstituted forMeadat 66′minutes
- 8RiviereSubstituted forLacasseat 66′minutes
- 3BuchananBooked at 85mins
- 10LawrenceBooked at 48mins
- 7GrossoSubstituted forPrinceat 59′minutes
- 6RoseSubstituted forPickettat 80′minutes
- 9HuitemaSubstituted forQuinnat 59′minutes
Match ends, England 1, Canada 1.
Second Half ends, England 1, Canada 1.
Foul by Fran Kirby (England).
Jessie Fleming (Canada) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Georgia Stanway (England) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Keira Walsh.
Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ellen White (England) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada).
Foul by Nikita Parris (England).
Ashley Lawrence (Canada) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Keira Walsh (England) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ellen White.
Attempt blocked. Nikita Parris (England) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucy Bronze with a cross.
Foul by Lucy Bronze (England).
Jessie Fleming (Canada) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Canada. Victoria Pickett replaces Deanne Rose.
Foul by Beth Mead (England).
Quinn (Canada) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Nichelle Prince (Canada) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jessie Fleming.
Attempt blocked. Georgia Stanway (England) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Nichelle Prince (Canada) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Deanne Rose.