France 3-0 England: Euro 2013 – as it happened

England were sent crashing out of the tournament after being completely overwhelmed by a slick French team

Well, that's that then

The final table leaves England bottom, with a solitary point, while Russia, who drew with Spain, will go into the hat with Denmark for a quarterfinal place. There can't be any complaint, either, because England never turned up. "We looked second best," says Faye White, who was stunned in to silence with the rest of the studio as Michael Grey reeled off the list of problems England have shown in Sweden.

The frustrating thing is that plenty of people identified the problems early on: the players who didn't play well last Friday, when this shambles began, have not played well at any point. The changes made today looked positive but were actually a bit aimlessly gung-ho, and England simply were not in this game. They ought to be better than a hopelessly gallant effort, even against this terrifyingly good French side.

This, then, is an important moment. England need not only to go away and "learn the lessons", but be brave enough to start to move this side on and get it challenging in the future. It's been built on the successes of the last few years; now it must be geared to successes to come. Cheerio.


Casey Stoney: "I can't say it's through lack of effort. All I can do is apologise that we didn't put on more of a display. We just never got going. I'm gutted. We'll all go away and reflect, we've got to bounce back because we've got World Cup qualifiers coming up soon.

"We always try, we just didn't have enough quality."

Hope Powell: "I think it was a gallant effort, we dug deep, at the end of the day France were just too good for us. They're quick on the break and we got punished.

"I said it would be difficult, we know we didn't play our best. Credit must go to France here."

Are you the person to lead England now? asks Sally Nugent on the BBC. "Yes, we've got U19s coming up, we have to regroup. We don't like losing, we've learned lots of lessons and we have to do better next time."

Full time: The whistle goes and the French players embrace, all smiles. Powell exchanges a hug with Bruno Bini and traipses off, ready to say who knows what to her dejected players. They have been utterly outplayed tonight.


90 +2min: "We love you England, we do" comes the chant. That, at least, is a good sign. There's nothing less productive than fans turning on their own team. England have not been so bad in the last 10 minutes, but they're so easily caught on the counter, still desperately pressing for a consolation. Thomis has just burned off Houghton, but saw her shot blocked.

90 +1min: There will be two minutes of added time, plus however long it takes to get Stoney seen to. Thomis caught her ankle as they both went for the ball a moment ago.

90 min: Another chance for White, running across Renard, but she can't lift the shot over Deville. At the other end, it takes two successive blocks to keep Thomis out, and Stoney has stayed down on the floor.

89 min: Powell is still shouting encouragement from the sidelines. "Head up!" Fairly certain she's primarily addressing Williams, who has had a really disappointing tournament. I've never seen her give the ball away so often.

88 min: White finds herself in space on the right, and Deville comes out of goal anticipating a square ball for Duggan - which White gives straight to her instead of shooting. The near post was hers!

86 min: Clarke gets down the left and cuts the ball across, but Duggan can't get her foot on it and keep it away from Renard. Seconds later Smith manages to turn and jab the ball through, but again there's no space and Deville scoops the ball up.

85 min: Both teams exchange errors for a minute or so. It's novel, at least.

82 min: It's almost worse when England do get chances: so frustrating, this hope lark. Jill Scott's pass for White is behind her but she does really well to stop and turn and dig out a dinked pass back to Scott, but she opts to lay it wide to Alex Scott, who skews her effort in to the side netting.

I think White survives largely because the 4-2-3-1 formation prevails. She works hard, too, she's not only a goalscorer. But there will inevitably be questions. Lots of them.

78 min: Bardsley's clearly been spending some time talking to male goalkeepers, this is heroic stuff. Coming out to punch a corner away, she can do nothing else but collide with Renard's shoulder in the process. Ouch.

77 min: Necib is such a good striker of a set piece - this time she's matched by an athletic leap from Bardsley.

76 min: Argh! Duggan was inches from connecting with a loose ball in the box there. Meanwhile Fara Williams is booked for a second time in the tournament and will miss the next match. Oh.


74 min: Three seconds of bliss as Alex Scott bends the ball out to the right for White, who chases it down and launches a first-time cross into the middle of the area. Three seconds ended in the arms of Deville.

72 min: Either that or they're banging their heads on the seats in front of them in a 4/4 beat. Carney off, Jess Clarke on.

71 min: The French supporters are enjoying a Mexican wave, all tension having been released from their brows. England fans try some encouraging rhythmic applause.

69 min: Oxygen to Guardian Towers! Necib trots unchallenged through the England defence and rolls the ball to Thomis, who can't quite shape her shot inside the near post.

68 min: Bardsley punches another corner clear, but England are largely relying on French errors to keep the heat off their goal.

66 min: This is going to get embarrassing for England, by the looks of it. Stoney heads clear a Le Sommer cross that Thomis was already leaping towards. From the corner, the ball is lumped forward and Bardsley comes to meet it at the far post, not realising Abily is already there. England were fortunate that nobody was there to meet Abily's header across the goal.


65 min: This could have happened in the first half. Small mercies. Big mercis.

France 3-0 England

64 min: Renard. Towering header, despite having three England defenders around her.

France 2-0 England

62 min: Game over. Necib has just scored a wonderful goal, France carving straight through the middle of England and deservedly extending their lead. Le Sommer cut in from the left and there was just so much space for her to run into, passing at the last second to give Necib chance to curl the ball in from just outside the area.


61 min: Catala comes on in place of Henry for France.

60 min: Better again from England, Alex Scott, Aluko and Duggan playing neat little passes down the right. Scott's cross is straight to Deville, but Duggan's just had a shot from range, and is coming in to the game a bit more.

Aluko off, Smith on.

58 min: This has been a marginally better spell for England, but they almost don't know what to do when they force themselves into Deville's penalty area. Aluko beats one defender but instead of seeking a teammate she tries to go alone and is dispossessed. Kelly Smith is coming on in a minute.

56 min: Finally a chance for England! White does well to take control of a darting, straight ball forward and turns to shoot, blocked by Renard. The corner finds nobody, though, and France clear - more than clear, they race away, Necib feeding Thomis, and England are relieved to see Thomis's shot flying high over the goal.

55 min: Respectable. I laughed, too.

54 min: More piggy-in-the-middle for England. Thomis shoots from an improbable angle on the left, and drags it well wide. Still, that's 11 shots to nil tonight. This is how respectable sports writers end up getting late trains home with M&S wine on the go.

51 min: Oof! Necib chips a gorgeous cross in right to left, and it floats over Scott's head to Le Sommer. Fortunately for England she swings at it and misses.

50 min: Not sure who Powell was talking to just then, but the mics picked up "Be honest with me, are you OK?" Steph Houghton maybe? She's on that side of the pitch, and was blowing late on against Russia.

48 min: Again, there's no composure or accuracy in England's passing. "Take your time," shouts Powell.

46 min: France kick off having swapped Soubeyrand and Thiney for Bussaglia and Abily. Thomis has moved in to the middle, it seems. Eesh.

We can't ignore how absolutely bloody brilliant the French are, but there are things I'd change in this team: quite a few, actually, since I'd have started 4-2-3-1, with Duggan up front, and Nobbs in place of Williams. Carney and Aluko deserve their places, though Carney has been a bit untidy so far.

The teams are back out and Asante has been subbed off, replaced by Jill Scott. That should hopefully give England a bit more drive through the middle, if they can get on the ball.

It's 1-1 at half time in the other game, Boquete giving Spain the lead with a corking sidefooter. Todua has made a gazillion saves to keep her side in it, and she's been rewarded by a lovely goal from Terokhova. If that result stays the same, England will go home bottom of the table.

Unpicking France's goal via slow-mo replays: England mistake, England mistake, England mistake, England mistake, Le Sommer class.


Half time: The referee blows her whistle on a half that England are actually lucky to end only a goal down. France could and should be out of sight. "We're struggling a little bit," says Sue Smith in the BBC studio, not really knowing what else to say. "Very very poor," says Michael Gray, who knows exactly what he thinks. "I think Hope Powell-" and then he's cut off for the news. Fairly easy to guess how that sentence might've ended.


44 min: This match should come with a heart warning. Thomis bombs down the right and cuts the ball back across the area - mild palpitations - and Scott has to check her run to try and cut it out, managing only to nudge the ball slightly away from Necib - full-blown coronary episode. Bardsley gets to it though.


40 min: Thomis wins a corner by forcing Houghton in to gerritout! mode, but Bardsley makes a confident catch. Can England force anything before half time?


38 min (still): Another "almost" moment for England - Duggan running towards Deville's goal with the ball at her feet and a nice diagonal run from Carney. She overhit the pass though.

38 min: Duggan and Aluko look to combine on the righthand side of the box, but they've no space to work in at all. Everything is being closed off right away. Trouble is, of course, France are enjoying their football. That's got to be worth an extra couple of yards.

35 min: An encouraging run from Asante, down the left, and she finds Carney. Once in the box, though, Carney finds her path blocked by two French defenders and no teammate near enough to lay the ball off to.

33 min: England will have to really hope that Houghton has got the legs for all these last-ditch tackles in the second half. Le Sommer denied this time. Houghton looked tired as the game wore on against Russia, having not long come back from injury.

News from the other game:

31 min: Elodie Thomis. Flattened by Stoney.

30 min: Elodie Thomis. Frighteningly good.

29 min: Ooh, lordy! One of those long balls to White almost pays off, with Franco lunging in to a clearance and hooking the ball back towards her keeper. The ball looks to be going over Deville's head, with White scampering in behind, but the keeper gets her hands on it.

27 min: England are still having to try and find White with long balls, and inevitably conceding possession. Thiney feeds Franco on the right and only a massive hoof by Aluko spares England.

25 min: Le Sommer puts the ball onto the top of the net, but the referee gives a corner, having imagined a touch by Stoney. Necib's corner looks like a training ground move gone wrong, though, and England buy back a few yards.

22 min: Great save by Karen Bardsley! That shot was going in from Necib, who picked Aluko's pocket on the edge of the area - the England goalkeeper just managed to nudge it over the bar. England push France away from the corner, but they just can't get a hold of the ball themselves.

21 min: Thomis is absolutely deadly. She lingers somewhere between the midfield and the defence and then just zooms on to a ball from Le Sommer, only prevented from shooting by a sliding intervention from Bradley.

19 min: Wah! Soubeyrand rifles a leftfooted shot from just outside the area that grazes the top of the bar. England are under it here, all right. Thomis again chases a long ball and cuts back to shoot with her left. Bardsley has it covered at the near post.

18 min: Phew. Bardsley runs out of goal to try and beat Thomis - yes, Thomis, lightning legs - to a long ball down the right, and there was a horrible moment where I blinked, thinking the keeper might back away from it. But she threw herself at it and clutched it tight.

16 min: England keep hold of the ball for a wee bit, but they're not quite pulling things off as they work it forward - Carney's backheel going astray and balls in to space quickly being hoofed away by the French defence.

12 min: A lot has been made of England being better when their backs are to the wall, but this is not the ideal time to test that theory. England started brightly but were gradually pushed deeper and deeper - I think actually it was a last-ditch tackle by Bradley that nudged the ball to Le Sommer, who somehow found several yards on Casey Stoney.

France 1-0 England

10 min: No more jokes, folks, this just got real. Thomis jinks past Williams and taps the ball sideways for Le Sommer, who thinks about it for a millisecond and then rolls the ball into the bottom corner.

8 min: And there's the first argh moment: Le Sommer runs on to a neatly loaded ball on the edge of the box and shoots first time, hitting the post with Bardsley beaten. Quick, someone call Mauro Goicoechea! (Thanks, Ali Brookman, for that suggestion.)


6 min: Soubeyrand floats a cross over from the left, but Bardsley comes out of goal and makes a comfortable catch. Well done her. *Pats the head of the England goalkeeper* England have spent the last couple of minutes pinned back in their last third, but France haven't found a way to create anything clear cut just yet.


4 min: England get the first corner of the game - lucky strip! - but Carney's outswinger isn't hit that hard and White struggles to hook it over her shoulder for Duggan to chase. France work the ball out and try to exert a bit of pressure of their own.

2 min: White quickly looks to put Deville under pressure, but the keeper hacks it clear. "Peter Enckelman," says Chris Scott. I think he may be referring to this.

1 min: England kick off in their lucky* red strip, though their home white kit would not have clashed with the French in all blue. 

*I may just have made this up.

The teams are coming out of the tunnel to huge cheers in Linkoping. Parts of the crowd, as well as the England team, sing the national anthem with gusto. Hope Powell is singing too. So much rests on this match for her.

The French anthem gets much the same treatment, with a sizeable contingent in the crowd decked out in blue and white. Allez! as they say.


Yes, yes, this is mere distraction from the nervous tension as this game gets towards kick off. Here's Eni Aluko, perhaps the only England player who has played to her potential so far, getting serious:

We came in to this tournament wanting to win every game, but the mental strength now we have to really tap in to it. Belief is one thing but acting on it is another. Hopefully every player has the strength to perform under pressure.

Goals bring confidence, I'm really starting to visualise positive things on the pitch. It might be going past the full back, crossing the ball in, little things that in a game you start to visualise it.

[World Cup defeat to France] was bitterly disappointing. Recently we drew 2-2 and I think it's fair to say that we gifted them two goals.

This is the biggest game of my life.

Even though we are top, we should take England seriously. They lost the first game and drew the second so they'll want some kind of revenge against us. They'll do everything to win, but we want to finish well.

The coach will decide the different goals in that game but I don't think I'm mistaken when I say that we're not here to distort the tournament.

Wendie Renard and Gaetane Thiney

In the last couple of years, we've done really well. We stamped our mark on women's football globally, if you include the Olympics in that, and all the games before we haven't lost. It's just unfortunate you come to a major tournament and the expectation sometimes is you should be there or thereabouts at the end. But it is a tough tournament and we have not performed. We just have to hope it clicks. There's no cutting corners on this; if we don't perform, and we win, I'll be happy, The idea is we have to stay in the tournament.

Hope Powell, England manager

It’s going to be tight, England - France is one of those rivalry games, we’ve played each other millions of times. I’ve played against a lot of those players since I was 15-16 because we’ve grown up in the same age groups together so we are familiar with them and I’ve played with Necib and Thomis for years and years. It’s going to be tight but it’s going to be good.

Karen Carney, interviewed by SheKicks.

If you want a job doing...

Since apparently it is OK to suggest that female goalkeepers be replaced by men until they can do their job properly, this evening I'm taking your nominations for likely replacements. First pick is, of course, reliable ol' Rob Green. Or "Safehands", as no one, not even his mother, calls him.



France (4-2-3-1): Celine Deville; Corine Franco, Sabrina Delannoy, Wendie Renard, Jessica Houara; Amandine Henry, Sandrine Soubeyrand; Elodie Thomis, Gaetane Thiney, Louisa Necib; Eugenie Le Sommer.

England (4-4-2): Karen Bardsley; Alex Scott, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Steph Houghton; Karen Carney, Fara Williams, Anita Asante, Eni Aluko; Toni Duggan, Ellen White.


Here's a funny thing: if England finish level on points with Denmark, who finished third in Group A, then at 10.30pm this evening the chair of Uefa's Women's Football Committee, Karen Espelund, will draw a name out of a hat to decide which team gets to play a quarter-final against Sweden. Uefa decided last year that goals scored and co-efficients would not be used to separate third-placed teams, to prevent teams from trying to manipulate the standings by effectively stopping playing once they're happy with the scoreline.

At this stage, of course, England don't have any such luxuries: they need to beat France, or get a draw and hope Russia fail to beat Spain, just to be in the hat. Just to be within a raffle ticket's shout! How did it come to this? Oh. Yeah. That. And that.

It's not quite as bleak as it feels – England have a knack of holding France to a draw – but they've usually been in better form than they have so far in Sweden. The manager Hope Powell has made some of the changes that people have been calling for since Friday's disappointing defeat to Spain, with Toni Duggan joining Ellen White up front, but we'll have to wait and see if that does the trick - the incoming players will have to gel instantly and Fara Williams and Anita Asante will need to communicate if they're to share tracking and attacking duties.

Personally, I felt that this game was ripe for Jordan Nobbs to play in central midfield, because that's probably the best way to get at the French (especially with a change at centre half, where Sabrina Delannoy deputises for Laura Georges, and a change of keeper to boot), but that may be a moot point. France still have a front four of Louisa Necib, Gaëtane Thiney, Elodie Thomis and Eugenie Le Sommer. Cripes!


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