England were handed a tough Nations League defeat in Belgium after the Red Flames edged their way to all three points after a five-goal thriller. A concerning head injury to Alex Greenwood also marred the occasion, but updates from Sarina Wiegman have confirmed she is doing okay.
Suffering a 1-0 defeat to Wiegman’s side on Friday, Belgium hosted the Lionesses in the return fixture. Both teams needed a result heading into the clash as they looked to secure their spot at next summer’s Olympic Games.
England will need to win both of their remaining fixtures and hope Belgium drop points if they are to make it out of their tricky group.
Evrard; De Caigny, Wullaert, Vanhaevermaet, Cayman, Blom, De Neve, Kees, Detruyer, Deloose. Missipo
Earps; Bronze, Charles, Walsh, Greenwood, Bright (c), Kelly, Stanway, Russo, Kirby, Hemp
How it went
A free-kick in the ninth minute saw Laura De Neve get the goal-scoring action underway for Belgium. The Anderlecht defender converted the early set piece to put the hosts into the lead. However, less than ten minutes later, the game was forced into a lengthy stoppage following a heavy collision between Greenwood and Jassina Blom.
The clash of heads left the England defender requiring a lengthy spell of treatment on the pitch before she was stretchered off the field.
Lucy Bronze’s 38th-minute goal brought the tie back level as the Barcelona defender headed a powerful ball beyond Nicky Evrard to restore the deadlock. The goal seemed to reignite the visitors, who had struggled to regain their rhythm in the tie following Greenwood’s injury.Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea’s Fran Kirby put England ahead just seven minutes later as the forward found the bottom corner of Evrard’s goal.
Belgium snag late winner
Six minutes into the lengthy period of injury time, Tessa Wulleart found an equaliser for the hosts. The Belgium captain got beyond England’s defenders to slot the ball past Mary Earps’ reach to offer her side a route back into the tie.
The second half was largely controlled by Sarina Wiegman’s side. Despite enjoying several good chances, the European Champions were unable to test Evrard and her defence. With just five minutes left to play, Belgium were awarded a penalty following a handball from Georgia Stanway. Wullaert duly converted the spot kick to put her side in front.
Ultimately, the penalty would be enough to earn the hosts all three points. The loss for England comes off the back of a run of inconsistent performances over recent months.