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England beaten by France

England 1 (Mead 31)

France 2 (De Almeida 42, Katoto 69)  

Beth Mead’s first half strike was not enough as England fell to a 2-1 defeat against France in their third game of UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifying.

The Lionesses lost goalkeeper Mary Earps to injury in the opening minutes but rallied well and took the lead when Mead put the finishing touch to a fine move which started inside her own half.

But France hit back just before the break through Elisa De Almeida and struck the killer blow 20 minutes from time when Marie-Antoinette Katoto swivelled well inside the box, extending Les Bleues’ lead to five points at the top of the group.

England’s night got off to the worst possible start and a cruel ending for goalkeeper Earps on what was her 50th international appearance. The Manchester United star winced after playing a routine pass to Millie Bright and though initially soldiering on, she was replaced after just eight minutes by Hannah Hampton.

After an inauspicious start, England settled around the 20 minute mark and the best chance of the early stages fell to Ella Toone, who met Lauren Hemp’s cutback with a sweeping effort which crept agonisingly wide of the far post.

It was another Hemp cross which led to the opener on the half hour, as former Sunderland player Mead gathered the ball following a scramble in the area before calmly slotting home her 33rd Lionesses goal to move joint-sixth on the all-time scorers list.

It was then England’s turn to do some defending and substitute Hampton was at full stretch to brilliantly parry away a firm header from Maelle Lakrar. Katoto then guided over Delphine Cascarino’s dangerous cross from close range before France produced a deserved equaliser five minutes before half time.

Right back De Almeida turned a poor corner into a great one, meeting the ball on the volley and looping a stunning effort over the helpless Hampton to level the scores.

England re-asserted themselves before the break and the final chance of the half fell to Mead but her curling effort was tipped behind by Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.

France forward Cascarino sidefooted wide early in the second half just moments after the ball refused to sit for Leah Williamson at the other end.

Just as in the first half though, a set piece proved England’s undoing and they were punished for failing to clear their lines, as forward Katoto atoned for her earlier miss, firing home a shot on the turn from eight yards via the far post.

England looked to salvage a point late on but despite some lively moments from substitute Chloe Kelly, France held on for victory without too many scares in what was Sarina Wiegman’s 50th game in charge.

England: Mary Earps (sub Hannah Hampton 8mins), Lucy Bronze, Jess Carter, Keira Walsh, Millie Bright, Leah Williamson, Beth Mead (sub Chloe Kelly 79mins), Georgia Stanway (sub Fran Kirby 79mins), Alessia Russo, Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp. Subs not used: Alex Greenwood, Jessica Naz, Aggie Beever-Jones, Grace Clinton, Maya Le Tissier, Jess Park, Khiara Keating, Esme Morgan, Millie Turner.

France: Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, Elisa De Almeida (sub Eve Perisset 86mins), Maelle Lakrar, Wendie Renard, Selma Bacha, Sandie Toletti, Sakina Karchaoui, Kenza Dali (sub Lea Le Garrec 90mins), Kadidiatou Diani, Marie-Antoinette Katoto (sub Louna Ribadeira 90mins), Delphine Cascarino (sub Amandine Henry 69mins). Subs not used: Solene Durand, Constance Picaud, Estelle Cascarino, Thiniba Samoura, Grace Geyoro, Sandy Baltimore, Ines Benyahia, Julie Dufour.  



Mary Earps has withdrawn from the England senior women’s squad with a minor hip injury sustained during Friday’s narrow 2-1 defeat by France.

Birmingham City’s Lucy Thomas has moved to the 23-player squad from standby for Tuesday evening’s return fixture against Les Bleues in Saint-Étienne.