Lionesses overcome Les Bleues at #SheBelievesCup

Toni Duggan celebrates scoring England’s opening goal with Keira Walsh, Fran Kirby, Demi Stokes and Nikita Parris.
Photo: Fred Vuich for FA

England began Phil Neville’s reign and the 2018 SheBelieves Cup, with a best ever result against France at the wind-blown MAPFRE Stadium in Ohio.

The Lionesses took only 7 minutes to score, Nikita Parris finding Fran Kirby, who slipped it out wide for Toni Duggan to place a first time shot back across Karima Benameur and into the far corner.

Sadly, Anita Asante’s return to the side didn’t last long after she suffered a knee injury but the lead was doubled on 28 minutes with a Lucy Bronze pass reaching Jill Scott, whose left-foot shot from the edge of the box was enough to beat the keeper.

Six minutes before the break it was 3-0, Parris’s perfectly-weighted pass putting Jodie Taylor in to slide the bal past Benameur.

Moments after the restart, England struck again as Scott’s delivery into the box was turned in by Kirby.

There was no more than a 77th minute consolation for Les Bleues, with substitute Gaetane Thiney seeing her effort from distance deflected in.

England next play Germany on Sunday 4th March at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, with the game live on the BBC Red Button from 8pm UK time.

England: 1-Karen Bardsley (21-Carly Telford, 83); 2-Lucy Bronze (capt.), 5-Anita Asante (15-Abbie McManus, 14), 6-Millie Bright, 3-Demi Stokes (14-Alex Greenwood, 87); 7-Nikita Parris (19-Mel Lawley, 61), 8-Jill Scott, 22-Keira Walsh, 10-Fran Kirby (16-Izzy Christiansen, 71); 9-Jodie Taylor, 11-Toni Duggan (18-Ellen White, 71)

Substitutes: 13-Siobhan Chamberlain, 4-Fara Williams, 12-Hannah Blundell, 17-Rachel Daly, 20-Georgia Stanway, 23-Gabby George

France: 1-Karima Benameur, 3-Eve Perisset, 19-Griedge Mbock Bathy, 4-Laura Georges, 22-Sakina Karchaoui; 10-Aminata Diallo; 9-Eugénie Le Sommer, 14-Faustine Robert (12-Gaëtane Thiney, 61), 6-Amandine Henry (capt.), 20-Kadidiatou Diani (18-Viviane Asseyi, 61), 11-Ouleymata Sarr (13-Valérie Gauvin, 74)

Substitutes: 16-Sarah Bouhaddi, 21-Solène Durand, 2-Aïssatou Tounkara, 5-Estelle Cascarino, 7-Amel Majri, 8-Maeva Clemaron, 15-Marie-Charlotte Leger, 17-Marion Torrent, 23-Grace Geyoro

The second match of the double-header saw hosts USA defeat Germany, in front of a crowd of 14,591.

Alyssa Naeher in the US goal kept Germany at bay early on, until Alex Morgan set up Megan Rapinoe to score in the 17th minute, which proved to be the game’s only goal.

USA:  1-Alyssa Naeher; 22-Taylor Smith, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 17-Tierna Davidson, 5-Kelley O’Hara (2-Casey Short, 79); 8-Julie Ertz (21-Savannah McCaskill, 72), 9-Lindsey Horan, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (6-Morgan Brian, 65); 11-Mallory Pugh (12-Lynn Williams, 90+1), 13-Alex Morgan (20-Allie Long, 90+4), 15-Megan Rapinoe (16-Emily Sonnett, 86)

Substitutes: 3-Andi Sullivan, 14-Sofia Huerta, 18-Jane Campbell, 19-Crystal Dunn, 23-Christen Press, 24-Ashlyn Harris

Germany: 1-Almuth Schult, 3-Kathrin Hendrich, 4-Leonie Maier (23-Hasret Kayikci, 76), 5-Babett Peter (8-Lena Goeßling, 54), 10-Dzsenifer Marozsan (capt.), 11-Alexandra Popp, 13-Sara Däbritz, 16-Linda Dallmann (20-Lina Magull, 68), 17-Verena Faißt, 19-Svenja Huth, 22-Tabea Kemme

Substitutes: 12-Laura Benkarth, 21-Carina Schlüter, 2-Johanna Elsig, 7-Jacqueline Klasen, 9-Mandy Islacker, 14-Anna Blässe, 15-Sara Doorsoun, 26-Sharon Beck, 27-Lea Schüller