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England's hopes of reaching the Under-19 EURO semi finals came to an end on Friday afternoon as they lost 1-0 to Spain in Stirling.
Rehanne Skinner's side knew they needed to avoid defeat if they were to stand any chance of heading into the last four, with their final group game against Belgium still to come on Monday. But it wasn't to be, as a first half strike from Olga Carmona proved to be the difference between the teams.
The goal came in the 22nd minute, when Eva Navarro's run and cross from the right picked out Carmona at the far post and she guided a low volley past Hannah Hampton.
England had a half chance to draw level before the break, when Jessica Naz skipped past two defenders on the left before pulling the ball back to the edge of the box for Amy Rodgers whose shot was cleared.
Into the second half, England continued to press for a way back into the game and just after the hour mark Lauren James saw a close range effort blocked before Naz collected the loose ball and tried to set up Rodgers as Spain desperately cleared their lines.
There was always danger at the other end though, with Carmona on the left proving an effective outlet for Spain, who were happy to try and catch England on the break.
With Ebony Salmon on as a second half substitute, the newly signed Bristol City striker added some pace to the attack, but with the clock running down England's hopes were hit by a sending off for Lauren Hemp. The Manchester City winger picked up a caution for a foul on Andujar, but then let frustration get the better of her and was shown a swift second yellow card for dissent to leave her side down to ten players for the last five minutes.
England will now take on Belgium in Perth on Monday, with a chance of qualifying for the Under-20 World Cup still up for grabs.
England: Hannah Hampton, Olivia Smith (sub Niamh Cashin 85mins), Aimee Palmer, Esme Morgan, Georgia Eaton-Collins, Lucy Fitzgerald (sub Ebony Salmon 56mins), Amy Rodgers (sub Molly Pike 85mins), Jessica Naz, Lauren Hemp, Lauren James (sub Ella Rutherford 64mins), Asmita Ale.
Spain: Catalina Coll, Oihane Hernandez, Berta Pujadas, Leia Aleixandri, Anna Torroda, Olga Carmona, Claudia Pina (sub Laia Codina 90mins), Candela Andujar, Silvia Rubio (sub Nerea Eizaguirre 60mins), Rosa Marquez (sub Teresa Abelleira 89mins), Eva Navarro (sub Athenea del Castillo 89mins).
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Lucy Fitzgerald takes on Anna Torroda
(middle) Olga Carmona and Aimee Palmer battle for the ball
(bottom) Esme Morgan hooks the ball goalwards with Oihane Hernandez and Rosa Marquez closing in
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