Despite England beating Scotland 6-0 at Hampden Park, they unbelieveably missed out on the Women’s Nations League finals on goal difference, therefore Team GB will not be featuring at the Olympics in Paris next summer.
It was in the Lionesses hands, after they beat the Netherlands 3-2 at Wembley a few days before, they set up a tie with Scotland where they had to score as many goals as they could, but be better than the Netherlands scoreline against Belgium (if they were to win) by three clear goals or more.
The game got off to a perfect start as the Lionesses were 4-0 up at half-time thanks to Alex Greenwood, Lauren James(x2) and Beth Mead. In Holland the scoreline was 1-0 to the Dutch meaning England topped League A, Group 1 and were heading through to the semi finals.
In the second-half in Scotland, England took their foot off the gas a little bit however they did grab a 5th goal through Fran Kirby in the 49th minute, this goal proved vital as not long after that, back over in Holland the Dutch had scored a second goal meaning England were still top (just).
Then came the drama, in the 91st minute, Damaris Berta Egurrola put the Netherlands 3-0 up meaning despite being 5-0 up, England wouldn’t be going through anymore but who stepped up to save the day?... 34-year-old Lucy Bronze, in the last kick of the game got on the end of a stunning Ella Toone pass, and headed one in at the back post to send the Lionesses back top and through!
However, it wasn’t all over in Holland… The England fans and players were nervously waiting for that final whistle but then came the dreaded news that broke Sarina’s, her players and the fans hearts.
Holland had scored…
Originally the goal was awarded to Vivianne Miedema however it has now gone down as a second to Egurrola, but regardless that 4th goal for the Netherlands in the 95th minute was enough to see them top the group and send them through to the nations league finals and potentially grab a spot at the Olympics.
Heartbreak for England and Sarina Wiegman.
Analysis of England’s Nations League campaign
Even though the Lionesses gave everything they possibly could by battering Scotland 6-0, and beating the Netherlands 3-2 at Wembley in the last two group games, their chances of reaching the Nations League finals and therefore the Olympics had been tarnished way before these games. As mentioned, the victory over the Netherlands gave them a very slim lifeline.
Other than the last two games of the group, the Lionesses were very lacklustre in terms of the performances fans had gotten used to under Sarina Wiegman. In the opening game they beat Scotland 2-1 and could only beat Belgium 1-0 on home soil on matchday three. But a 3-2 loss to Belgium back in October and a 2-1 loss to the Netherlands in September was what ultimately cost Sarina Wiegman’s team. In both the games that they lost, the scores were level for a long time, if only the Lionesses could’ve held on in one of them instead of conceding winners so late in the game, the final outcome would have been a lot different, Olympic qualification wouldn’t have been fully secured but they’d have been in a much better position to do.
But it wasn’t to be. So, there will be no Team GB at the Olympics in Paris next year unfortunately. However, off the back of two major tournament finals (Women’s Euros 2022 and the Women’s World Cup 2023), some of the England players despite being disappointed will surely welcome the break over the summer after finishing their respective seasons off with their clubs.
It’s just a huge shame for some of the older players like Lucy Bronze and Kim Little as the Paris 2024 Olympics may have been their last. As well as some of the younger players as it could’ve been their first Olympics too.
England’s Nations League campaign in numbers…
Played = 6 games
Won = 4
Lost = 2
Points = 12
Goals scored = 15
Goals conceded = 8
Goal difference = +7
Top scorers = Lauren Hemp and Lucy Bronze (3 goals)
The next time we see the Lionesses in action will be in 2024. However, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can see many of the players in action in the Women’s Super League as well as the other top domestic leagues across the world.