Germany’s Klara Bühl piles pressure on Phil Neville and England with late strike | Football


Phil Neville takes “full responsibility” for England’s poor run of form after Klara Bühl struck late for Germany to crush England’s record home crowd of 77,768. “One in seven is totally unacceptable,” he said of the Lionesses’ run which began with World Cup semi-final defeat to the USA.

“It is not what I see as success and we need to do something about it very quickly. We can talk about the emotional highs about the World Cup, but when you get into November that becomes an excuse. And we’re not having any excuses. It starts with me I’ve got to take responsibility for those results, I’m the one that picks the team. I’m the one that sets the tactics, I train them. I talked to them. I communicate with them.

“Start with me and finish with me, ultimately because the team always reflects the manager and at this moment in time the results aren’t good enough. Which means I’m not good enough.”

Alexandra Popp’s early unmarked header had put Germany ahead inside nine minutes before Ellen White scored in her first England game since injury sidelined the 30-year-old following her six-goal haul at the World Cup in France. White’s one-touch strike came on the stroke of half-time after Keira Walsh floated a looping ball from deep on to the toes of her Manchester City teammate; but Bühl skipped into the box and slipped the ball past Mary Earps in the 90th minute to douse the mood of the rain-dampened fans.

When the team sheet arrived there was fairly universal agreement; it was good. Goalkeeper Earps, who is now shining for Manchester United, was preferred to Carly Telford and Ellie Roebuck while Leah Williamson retained her place in central defence alongside Steph Houghton despite the return of Millie Bright.

Inside 10 minutes, though, Wembley saw the best and worst of Earps. First, at full stretch, a graze of her fingertips forced Popp’s lashed effort from the left on to the bar, but the keeper could have done more to keep out the Germany captain when she headed powerfully through Earps’ arms. It would be unfair to point the finger solely at Earps, however. The nippy cross from Kathrin Hendrich caught Williamson and Houghton napping while Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood left too much space by drifting narrower. It was an all-too-familiar sight. England under Neville have conceded 24 goals and 10 have been directly from crosses.

Ellen White scores for England on the stroke of half-time.

Ellen White scores for England on the stroke of half-time. Photograph: Charlotte Wilson/Offside via Getty Images

With Germany dominant and pouncing on the too frequent sloppy passes England’s defence once again looked on the ropes. It was Nikita Parris and Jill Scott combining on the right who provided England’s most threatening moments and Beth Mead found more and more space on the left, enough to win a penalty getting to White’s cross just ahead of the goalkeeper, Merle Frohms.

However, Parris’s effort was in the centre of the goal, lacked power and Frohms’ legs deflected the ball high and over to make it three missed penalties in four in an England shirt for the Lyon winger. With a minute left of the half, though, Bronze touched the ball back to Walsh who lofted a stunning pass over the top of the defence and White slotted past Frohms with one touch.

With England having played Germany 20 times in 35 years but only recording one win and four draws in that time – including a 3-0 drubbing in front of the previous home record of 45,619 in their last Wembley outing in 2014 – the goal seemed to lift a weight off the players’ shoulders.

But once again a lapse in concentration proved costly. A swathe of substitutions had taken the sting out of the closing 10 minutes but it was all too easy for Bühl, in the final minute of normal time, to dance around Houghton and score past Earps.

Neville described his team’s concession of late goals as a sickness. “You cannot lose concentration for a split second,” he said. “What we’re trying to find is that consistency of performance and behaviour. That is the ultimate challenge for this group of players and for myself as a manager.”

With dead balls, sluggish starts and lapses in concentration features of Neville’s reign and there being no sign of a remedy, the pressure is mounting. Houghton, though, thinks the criticism should not just be directed at the manager.

“I think some of it’s been really unfair,” she said. “As players we have to take responsibility. For us as individuals and as players our performances can be better, but we’re in it together. It’s all about making sure that we’re all on the same page.

“We know that there’s going to be criticism that comes our way but I think we can be a little bit more positive than we have been over the last few months. But ultimately the only way that we can get positive remarks is if we keep winning.”


Source link

England beat New Zealand in super over to win T20 series 3-2

Reliance Industries cuts base price for new gas from KG-D6 after customer protests