England could not capitalise on chances in the first half (PA Images)
12 March 2020

Phil Neville under fire as underwhelming England end SheBelieves Cup defence with defeat to Spain

England have failed to defend their SheBelieves title after slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Spain in their final game leaving head coach Phil Neville facing yet more questions over his position.

Defensive weaknesses were exploited by Spain and a late header from Alexia Putellas from a corner meant the defending champions slipped to a second loss out of three in their title defence.

Putellas scored the only goal of the game on the way to Spain's win (PA Images)

Neville's Lionesses failed to capitalise on their first-half domination and never looked like scoring after the break, whereas the Spanish side stepped up to dominate and leapfrog England in the overall standings.

England had a number of chances in the first half but despite chances for Ellen White and Nikita Parris, they failed to find the back of the net.

Some sublime goalkeeping from Carly Telford ensured damage control for the English side after the break, but when Putellas was left unmarked in the box, Spain capitalised then held off the defending champions until the final whistle.

Worryingly for England, it was another corner that left them found wanting with stats showing that ten of their last 18 goals have been conceded from set pieces.

The Lionesses have now won just three matches since the quarter-final in last summer's World Cup and Phil Neville is facing questions over his position.

After the game, he acknowledged the poor display saying: "That second-half performance was just not good enough.

"We will be judged on results. I don't think the results have been good enough and I take full responsibility for that."

When asked about his role in the set-up he added: "Questions should be asked. I expect better of a team I put on the field. I'll go away and reflect and I'll take it from there."

World Champions the US won the title with a game in hand as they prepare to play their final game against Japan on Thursday.

England will not meet again until their training camp in April before a number of English players head to Tokyo as part of Team GB for the Olympics.

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