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England go down to late, late goal
 Women's Football News 12 Jul 2013
 
England go down to late, late goal - 12 Jul 2013 - Women's Football NewsEngland 2 (Aluko 7, Bassett 88)
Spain 3 (Boquete 3, Hermoso 85, Bardsley og 90)

England's opening game in the Euro 2013 Finals ended in defeat as a goal with virtually the last touch of the game gave Spain a deserved victory. 
 
Despite a largely disappointing second half performance, England had looked to have salvaged a point when Laura Bassett scored her first international goal but Spain had been the better side for virtually all of the game and England need nothing less than a victory against Russia in their next match on Monday if they are to progress from their group.
 
Spain forced an early corner which culminated with Adriana Martin firing a shot over the bar but England did not heed the warning and they found themselves a goal behind with three minutes on the clock.
 
Jennifer Hermoso's ball forward was picked up by Sonia and she slid a pass through to Veronica Boquete who exploited a huge gap in the centre of England's defence and although Karen Bardsley got a touch to her shot, she could not prevent the ball from going in.
 
However England were back on terms just four minutes later, Jill Scott threading a pass which was not cut out by Elisabeth Ibarra and Eniola Aluko took full advantage with an unerring finish into the corner of the net.
 
Fara Williams went close with a long range strike which was turned over the bar by Ainhoa Tirapu as England began to settle down but Bardsley was again called into action at the other end when she was forced to save a stinging near post shot by Sonia.
 
The skilful Boquete was a constant threat to the England defence and she created a good opportunity when latching onto a clearance by Marta Torrejon and holding off the attentions of Laura Bassett before finding Adriana whose shot failed to hit the target.
 
England hit back with a good move of their own, Aluko played a fine pass into the path of Steph Houghton whose low cross picked out Ellen White but the striker's shot deflected off Ruth Garcia and just wide.
 
There was an early threat for England in the second half as Sonia broke down the left and whipped in a dangerous cross from which Bassett did well to prevent Boquete getting onto.
 
Spain then passed up a great opportunity to go back in front when England failed to deal with another cross and Sonia touched the ball off to Adriana who fired wide from ten yards.
 
England came back and White made a good run down the right, racing on to Alex Scott's pass and her low cross made it to the far post where Rachel Yankey's shot was charged down by Marta Torrejon.
 
White tried her luck from distance with a speculative effort which was held by Tirapu, Spain immediately counter attacked with Boquete running dangerously at the England defence but she could not get enough power in her shot and Bardsley saved comfortably.
 
However Spain should have been in front when Marta Torrejon's long ball forward was completely misjudged by Bardsley, the ball bouncing over her and as she scrambled back, Vicky Losada nipped in to try and take advantage but blasted the ball against the bar with the goal at her mercy.
 
There was another let off for England when an unmarked Irene Paredes failed to connect with a header from a free kick played in from deep.
 
Spain persisted with their neat possession football associated with their men's side whilst England, in contrast, were struggling to keep the ball and get any flow or fluidity in their game. However they produced one of their best moves when Williams' pass released Karen Carney on the right, White was first to get on the end of her cross but she was just unable to get her shot on target. Once again Spain countered though and Alexis Putellas, who greatly impressed after coming on as a substitute, made a fine run into the area where her shot was saved by Bardsley.
 
With five minutes remaining, Spain got the breakthrough they had threatened all half. Bardsley initially clawed away a corner out to Silvia Meseguer whose shot was blocked by Houghton but only as far as Hermoso who took a touch before firing home from eight yards.
 
Spain could not hold on to their lead once again though and it was perhaps unsurprising that the equaliser came from a set piece. Yankey's corner was won on the edge of the area by Anita Asante and Bassett hooked the ball over Tirapu and into the corner of the net.
 
Spain were not finished though and in the very last minute of injury time, Adriana cleverly tricked her way past Alex Scott on the left to cross and, pressed by Putellas, Bardsley failed to claim and the ball went into her own net off her head.
 
Four years ago, England lost their opening match to Italy and kick started their campaign with a victory over Russia in the next game. They will need a significant improvement in performance in order to repeat that feat this time around. 
 
England: Karen Bardsley, Alex Scott, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Laura Bassett, Casey Stoney, Eniola Aluko (sub Karen Carney 72mins), Anita Asante, Ellen White, Fara Williams, Rachel Yankey (sub Jess Clarke 90mins).

Spain: Ainhoa Tirapu, Marta Torrejon, Jennifer Hermoso, Irene Paredes, Ruth Garcia, Silvia Meseguer, Elisabeth Ibarra, Sonia Tribano (sub Alexia Putellas 73mins), Veronica Boquete, Adriana Martin, Nagore Calderon (sub Vicky Losada 61mins).


 
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