England suffered Women’s Nations League heartbreak after narrowly missing out on qualification for the tournament finals despite a 6-0 win over Scotland.
The Lionesses came close to pulling off a Houndi-style escape to top their group, but a late goal for the Netherlands in their 4-0 success against Belgium from Damaris Egurrola saw them through on goal difference. The result also ends Team GB’s hopes of Olympic qualification.
Lucy Bronze’s injury time header for England had looked to have put them through, but after full-time in Glasgow news broke that the Dutch had topped the group in dramatic fashion. The result means England won’t face a Nations League semi-final in the New Year.
Had Sarina Wiegman’s team reached the final they would have ensured Olympic qualification for Team GB. Instead they now face a rare summer off, after winning Euro 2022 and reaching the World Cup final earlier this year.
At a chilly Hampden Park, two-goal Lauren James shone with a dazzling display to light up a chilly Hampden Park, creating another in a dominant performance. Alex Greenwood, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby also netted as England went for broke, knowing that if both they and the Dutch won it would go down to the wire. But it wasn't enough.
Here are the Mirror Football talking points from Glasgow.
England knew they had to win to keep alive hopes of fielding a Team GB side at next summers Olympics. Scotland captain Rachel Corsie rejected any suggestion that she and her teammates would not be desperate to beat the Lionesses.
But on the pitch the difference between the two was huge. Once James scored with a deflected effort to make it 2-0, England sensed their chance to rack up a big score.
Bronze's late header looked to be sending them back to the Olympic Games, with England going through as the full-time whistle blew at Hampden Park. But the last ditch goal from Egurrola, killed the celebrations and proved to the decisive difference in the final standings.
For England to go out after a quality attacking performance away to their local rivals, is cruel. But the Lionesses were made to pay for earlier results in the campaign.
They came into the final two games needing a minor miracle to get through. Sarina Wiegman's side very nearly pulled it off, but in the end, over the entire group, the Dutch deserved to go through.
England's poor display in the 3-2 defeat away at Belgium proved crucial. At least Wiegman can take some comfort from her team that looked back to their best going forward. Beth Mead was outstanding, scoring once and creating two, while James put in one of her best displays in a white shirt. It was a big win on the night, but other results have finally caught up with the Lionesses.
She may have set up two goals, but for long periods of England's win over Holland, Lauren James flattered to deceive. Sarina Wiegman was rewarded for sticking with her on Friday but there was a chance she may have dropped to the bench tonight, with Beth Mead back in the starting line-up.
In the end Wiegman kept faith with the Chelsea star and was rewarded. Her two goals in as many minutes changed the complexion of the night.
Any doubts over Scotland's desire to upset their neighbours were put to bed within the opening minutes. Nicola Docherty flew into a tackle which flattened England's most senior player, Lucy Bronze.
A message was sent. The hosts were up for a battle and England had to match them. Noise from the stands for both sides was strong, with the Lionesses backed by a dedicated away section in the far corner.
But after a powerful start, the Scottish challenge faded after James' deflected effort flew past Lee Gibson. From that point on the home sides' energy levels seemed to dip, while England played some sensational football.
England's opening goal of the night came from an unlikely source in the form of defender Alex Greenwood. The Manchester City defender was left criminally unmarked and managed to nod past Glasgow City keeper Lee Gibson.
It was a scrappy finish, but nonetheless hugely important for the visitors who needed a fast start for their potential goal difference chase. It was also a deserved moment of recognition for Greenwood, who was the Lionesses most consistent player at the World Cup in the summer.
Her sixth international senior goal wasn't a stunner, but it was mightily important.
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