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Schmidt sinks England in final friendly
 Women's Football News 30 May 2015
 
Canada 1 (Schmidt 23) England 0
England's final match before the World Cup ended in defeat as a first half strike from Sophie Schmidt gave hosts Canada a deserved victory in front of 23,197 at Hamilton. 
 
In truth, it was a disappointing performance from an England side which never really looked scoring apart from when Fara Williams struck the bar with a cross-cum-shot late on.
 
Captain Steph Houghton made a welcome return to the England starting line up after being out through injury since the start of the Cyprus Cup in March and there was also a starting place for Katie Chapman. Melissa Tancredi meanwhile wore the captain's armband for Canada on the occasion of her 100th appearance.
 
Tancredi was close to getting in with a header early on but the opening fifteen minutes saw few chances at either end. England's best opportunity so far came with a free kick just outside the area but Houghton curled her shot over the bar.
 
Jill Scott headed straight at Erin McLeod from a corner but the deadlock was broken at the midway point in the first half, Josee Belanger burst down the right and cut the ball across the edge of the area where Schmidt curled a fine effort past a helpless Bardsley and into the top corner.
 
Canada continued to carry the game to England with Desiree Scott driving forward from midfield whilst Tancredi and Adriana Leon were working hard up front. Schmidt, the game's standout player, drilled a free kick narrowly over the bar as Canada deservedly took their lead going into the half time break.
 
An early free kick in the second half was floated into the area by Karen Carney for Katie Chapman whose header was comfortably saved by McLeod.
 
At the other end, Ashley Lawrence fired over the bar after exchanging passes with Leon and moments later, a quickly taken corner caught the England defence napping and Schmidt carried the ball into the area unchallenged before her shot was parried by Bardsley at the near post.
 
Mark Sampson made a triple substitution on the hour mark in an attempt to galvanise the team going forward but once again they were making little impression on the Canadian defence at this stage, relying on too many long balls which were giving their strikers little chance against their powerful opponents.
 
In fact it was Canada who had two good opportunities to extend their lead in the 78th minute. First, Kadeisha Buchanan made a strong run down the right before sliding a pass behind the England defence, Houghton tried to shield the ball back but Schmidt was too strong and Bardsley came to England's rescue by blocking the shot with her legs. The resulting corner bounced dangerously across the face of the goal and Josee Berenger did not react quickly enough to force the ball in.
 
England did go close to equalising with four minutes remaining albeit through a cross-cum-shot from Fara Williams which struck the top of the bar. Alex Greenwood was off target with an ambitious long range effort as the game went into injury time and Jade Moore almost stole in as McLeod initially fumbled a cross by Greenwood but it was too little, too late for England and the home side ran out deserved winners. 
 
Canada: Erin McLeod, Josee Berenger, Allysha Chapman, Kadeisha Buchanan, Lauren Sesselmann (sub Carmelina Moscato 65mins), Sophie Schmidt, Ashley Lawrence (sub Kayley Kyle 75mins), Melissa Tancredi, Adriana Leon (sub Jessie Fleming 75mins), Christine Sinclair, Desiree Scott.

England: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Claire Rafferty (sub Alex Greenwood 60mins), Katie Chapman (sub Fran Kirby 72mins), Casey Stoney, Steph Houghton, Karen Carney (sub Jade Moore 82mins), Jill Scott, Ellen White (sub Fara Williams 60mins), Lianne Sanderson (sub Eniola Aluko 60mins), Toni Duggan.

 
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