England vs France Euro 2025 Qualifier: Analyzing Set Piece Woes in Sarina Wiegman’s Defeat

 England vs France Euro 2025 Qualifier showdown: In the recent Euro 2025 qualifier clash between England and France, defensive lapses from set pieces proved costly for Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses.

Despite an early lead courtesy of Beth Mead’s goal, England succumbed to a frustrating 2-1 defeat, marking their first home qualifying loss in over two decades.

England vs France Euro 2025 Qualifier: Analyzing Set Piece Woes in Sarina Wiegman’s Defeat
Beth Mead put England ahead on the half-hour mark from Lauren Hemp's cross @Sky Sports

France defeated England in a qualifying match for Euro 2025, becoming the first away team to do so since 2002. The game was turned around by Elisa De Almeida and Marie-Antoinette Katoto, who gave France a 2-1 away victory after Beth Mead had put the Lionesses ahead.

Beth Mead’s goal gave England the early advantage in their Euro 2025 qualifying group, which they needed to win to jump their opponents and take first place.

But France prevailed thanks to two goals from corners in each half, exactly as they had when they defeated England in a qualifying match away from home in October 2002.

Despite the outcome, Wiegman was pleased with England’s effort. However, he was not thrilled with their weak set-piece defending or their poor decision-making in the final third, which could have resulted in a worse score if Maelle Lakrar hadn’t saved a header in the first half.

Her words, “It was frustrating,” “I think we did quite well, but we need to improve on the two goals we let up from set plays.

“You don’t get many opportunities in these matchups. We had several chances in the first half, but we only managed one goal—and regrettably, they also scored one.

“We were dangerous, but we also had more possession of the ball in the second half without producing many more opportunities. Better work was required on the final pass.

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“We all know that France excels at set pieces. We were ready, of course, but they still had that much time. Hemp was unlucky to be pounded in the first half, but in the second, she had a little more room and did a good job finishing.”

The England captain, Leah Williamson, was equally angered by the Lionesses’ vulnerability to dead balls and how they contributed to their team’s first loss in six games.

“Really disappointed, the game was there to be won,” she stated. “It’s unfortunate that we can’t offer the fans a win as well; it was an amazing event, and they have never let us down.

“There are two set pieces and two balls. Although we didn’t play well enough to win the game, we had the opportunity to do so. We were slain by two set pieces. Those things involve a certain amount of luck, but first and second contacts ought to be more effective. On Tuesday, we’ll perform better.”

Despite a tumultuous first minute, England gained the lead thanks to an injury sustained by reinstated No. 1 Mary Earps, who was finally forced off after pushing through her discomfort.

The Man Utd goalkeeper’s status is still unknown, however after the final whistle, she was observed on crutches on the field.

“It was a strange start with that first ball where Mary got injured,” Wiegman added. After roughly five minutes, she had to get off again because she had fallen. It wasn’t what we had anticipated!

“We had to reorganize ourselves, but once we did, we played much better. I haven’t talked to anyone about the injury after the game, so I can’t comment.”

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