France 1-2 England: Player ratings as Lionesses get Euro 2025 qualifying campaign back on track

France 1-2 England: Player ratings as Lionesses get Euro 2025 qualifying campaign back on track
By: Sport Posted On: June 04, 2024 View: 11

England made amends for Friday's defeat as they reversed the scoreline to beat France 2-1 in Saint-Etienne on Tuesday.

Goals from Georgia Stanway and Alessia Russo rounded off an outstanding first-half display from Sarina Wiegman's side. Despite a late scare of a France comeback following a penalty from Kadidiatou Diani, the Lionesses were able to hold out for a much needed win.

England's UEFA Women's Euro 2025 qualifying campaign is back on track and they're in a much stronger position compared to the way the table looked prior to kick-off. Automatic qualification is still on the cards and wins against Sweden and the Republic of Ireland in July will be enough to see it through - but there's still plenty of work to do.

How the game unfolded

It was a nervy opening few minutes for England as France’s high press caused them plenty of problems in possession. The Lionesses quickly grew into the game and started to carve out openings.

The first major chance came after Lucy Bronze won a header high up the pitch and it fell into the path of Beth Mead. Her dangerous cross into the box was met by Russo, but the Arsenal forward couldn’t keep her effort down.

Stanway opened the scoring shortly after the 20-minute mark. Russo used her quick feet to find Lauren Hemp in the area and the Manchester City winger laid it off for Stanway to strike.

Russo then got the goal her performance desperately deserved as she met a ball in from Hemp. After seeing a similar effort saved moments earlier, this time she headed downwards and gave Pauline Peyraud-Magnin absolutely no chance.

France’s best chance of the first half fell to Marie-Antoinette Katoto. A free-kick into the box was headed across goal by Wendie Renard, but Katoto was unfortunate to see her effort narrowly miss the target.

The hosts came out fighting in the second half and England were forced to weather the French storm. Katoto came close once again but it wasn't until the 70th minute that they finally forced their way back into the game.

Leah Williamson was penalised for a trip on Grace Geyoro and Diani made no mistake from the penalty spot and sent Hannah Hampton the wrong way.

Hampton made up for it late on as she got down low to keep out a strike from Katoto. Despite a nervy, nail-biting end to the game, England just about held on to record a much-needed victory on French soil.

Leah Williamson, Marie-Antoinette Katoto

France forward Marie-Antoinette Katoto battles for the ball against Leah Wiliamson / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

GK: Pauline Peyraud-Magnin - 6/10 - A fantastic stop to deny Mead on 20 minutes, but not a lot she could have done for Stanyway’s strike. Could have been a lot more than 2-0 at half-time if not for some crucial saves from the goalkeeper.

RB: Sakina Karchaoui - 5/10 - Picked up some space down the left at times and her drive certainly asked questions of the England back line. Didn’t contribute enough, however, and was subbed at half-time.

CB: Wendie Renard - 6/10 - Looked to get her players together for a mini team talk during a break in play as England were well on top. It was to little avail as Russo made it 2-0 shortly after. A threat from set pieces.

CB: Maelle Lakrar - 4/10 - A difficult night against Russo and the England striker had the beating of her more than once. Missed the header before Russo made it two in the first half. Passed the ball straight to Toone to nearly gift England a third. Subbed.

LB: Elisa De Almeida - 5/10 - Looked significantly more comfortable when she was moved central alongside Renard in the second half. Had a tough night up against Mead prior to that.

CM: Selma Bacha - 6/10 - Very nearly got a goal back shortly after 50 minutes. Her left-footed strike flew narrowly wide and Hampton was on the stretch. Integral to France's comeback in the second half, was struggling with a knock but soldiered on until stoppage time when she was helped off by physios.

CM: Grace Geyoro - 6/10 - A pretty quiet first half from the midfielder but her influence grew as France grew into the game. Won the penalty to allow France a route back into the game.

CM: Amandine Henry - 5/10 - A rather anonymous night for the veteran midfielder. A strike from distance before the break but it was well wide. Then gave the ball away to Russo but did just enough to recover. Subbed at half-time.

RW: Kadidiatou Diani - 6/10 - Put a shot just wide in the opening few minutes. Composed penalty strike to make it 2-1 in the second half.

ST: Marie-Antoinette Katoto - 6/10 - Unfortunate to see an attempt narrowly miss the target moments before half-time and headed over early in the second half. Denied an equaliser in the final minutes of the game by a strong stop from Hampton.

LW: Kenza Dali - 6/10 - Lost the battle with Hemp in the build-up to Stanway’s opener. Much better second half as France were on top. Subbed.

Substitutes

SUB: Sandie Toletti (45’ for Amandine Henry) - 6/10 

SUB: Delphine Cascarino (45’ for Sakina Karchaoui) - 6/10 

SUB: Eve Perisset (73’ for Maelle Lakrar) - 6/10

SUB: Vicki Becho (90+1’ for Kenza Dali) - N/A

SUB: Sandy Baltimore (90+1’ for Selma Bacha) - N/A

Subs not used: Solene Durand (GK), Constance Picaud (GK), Estelle Cascarino, Thiniba Samoura, Ines Benyahia, Julie Dufour, Lea Le Garrec.

Manager

Herve Renard - 6/10 - His side struggled to get a firm grip on the game in the first 45 and he wasted no time making the required changes. France were much more threatening in the second half and very nearly mounted a comeback.

Alessia Russo, Maelle Lakrar

Alessia Russo was on the scoresheet for England against France / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

GK: Hannah Hampton - 8/10 - Had very little to do in the first half. A few goal kicks flew out of play, but solid in possession otherwise. Much more to do in the second 45 and dived the wrong way for Diani's penalty. Made up for it with a huge stop to keep out an effort from Katoto in the final minutes of the game.

RB: Lucy Bronze - 7/10 - A couple of loose passes early doors, one was intercepted and she was fortunate to see the resulting France counter-attack break down. Her diagonal balls were a threat for England and her experience helped the Lionesses see out a much-needed victory.

CB: Millie Bright - 8/10 - Looked more comfortable at set pieces this time and she was assigned Renard on set pieces, as opposed to Stanway on Friday night. A much fairer battle. Just about handled the France onslaught late on.

CB: Leah Williamson - 7/10 - Much better compared to the outing at St James’ Park. Her long balls were a joy to behold and she marshalled her back line well. Uncharacteristic mistake to concede a penalty and gift France a way back into the game.

LB: Jess Carter - 8/10 - Tracked De Almeida well and picked her moments to push further up the pitch. Crucial defending late on as Delphine Cascarino looked to threaten, forced the France forward wide and the danger was averted.

CM: Keira Walsh - 8/10 - Sloppy in possession in the opening exchanges when France were pressing with intensity. Grew into the game and started to dictate the play for England.

CM: Georgia Stanway - 8/10 - Fantastic strike for the opener and almost scored a carbon copy to make it 3-0, but sliced it wide on that occasion.

CM: Ella Toone - 8/10 - Similar to Walsh, she struggled in the early minutes of the game but grew into it. Allowed England to play with pace and urgency and was the vital link between midfield and attack. Was gifted an opportunity to make it three in the second half but her effort was tame and comfortably saved.

RW: Beth Mead - 7/10 - Dangerous crosses into the box that weren’t finished by her teammates. Not as involved as Hemp on the opposite flank as England had clearly identified a weakness down that side. Subbed.

ST: Alessia Russo - 9/10 - Probably one of her best performances in an England shirt. Her hold up play, strength and positioning was integral to her side’s first-half dominance and she got the goal she richly deserved. Showed maturity when the Lionesses needed it most in the second-half.

LW: Lauren Hemp - 8/10 - Two assists in the first-half and was integral to the build-up of most of England’s dangerous attacks. Her pace caused the French back line plenty of problems

Substitutes

SUB: Chloe Kelly (74’ for Beth Mead) - 8/10

SUB: Fran Kirby (90’ for Ella Toone) - N/A

Subs not used: Khiara Keating (GK), Lucy Thomas (GK), Alex Greenwood, Jess Naz, Aggie Beever-Jones, Grace Clinton, Maya Le Tissier, Jess Park, Esme Morgan, Millie Turner

Manager

Sarina Wiegman - 7/10 - A much better performance from England in the first-half, compared to Friday's display in Newcastle. Took a risk by sticking with the same starting line-up but it just about paid off. Could argue she should have turned to her bench sooner as her team looked shattered by about 70 minutes.

Player of the match - Alessia Russo (England)

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