Fine margins between victory and defeat as England Women narrowly miss out on the Euro Cup final in Portugal…
England 4 Switzerland 5 (AET)
The Swiss were first up as a thrilling contest finished in extra-time after a captivating encounter that saw both sides enjoy the lead throughout.
Leeta Rutherford opened the scoring early on in the game with her first international goal for England.
Indeed, England were on course to victory as they led 4-3 midway through the final period, thanks partly to a Jade Widdowson brace (her first two international goals for England) and also a great solo strike from Gemma Hillier. However, two headers from captain Maurer, one in regular time and a second in ET dragged the Swiss through and into Sunday’s final much to the heart break of the English team.
England 5 Greece 3
England would salvage something from Saturday’s action, as they made the third-place play-off with a 5-3 win over Greece.
A fine individual performance from Molly Clark eased England into a second place finish in the group. The England no10 scored four out of England’s five goals, showing her predatory capabilities in the no10 shirt. Goalkeeper Lucy Quinn wrapped up the scoring with a trademark finish from long range.
England 6 Portugal 6 (Portgual win 2-0 on pens)
It was the hosts Portugal who clinched third place courtesy of a penalty shoot-out win over England.
An enthralling encounter saw both teams take the lead throughout the game with many credible goals. Jade Widdowson continued her scoring form with a thunderous strike from distance and captain Sarah Kempson also found the goal twice from range.
Mario Narciso’s side led 6-4 in the latter stages of the final period – Melissa Gomes notably scoring a treble – but Molly Clark’s late brace took the game to extra-time, which was followed by spot kicks.
While Regina Pereira and Gomes each scored theirs, Katie James and Sarah Kempson both struck the woodwork, ensuring Portugal a third-place finish on home sand while England were made to settle for fourth, just ahead of the Netherlands.
During a weekend of exceptional Beach Soccer, fine margins were the difference between Champions Spain and an England side who gave international debuts to three players. Shannon Sievwright, Katie James and Cassie Thorp all showed playing maturity beyond their experience. Sarah Kempson was magnificent in leading the team throughout the competition and often led by example. Jade Widdowson lived up to her pre-tournament billing as a key player with regular demonstrations of technical quality. Gemma Hillier was again magnificent at giving the opposition no rest, perfectly showing this attribute against Switzerland. Leeta Rutherford was able to cap off a good weekend with her debut international goal. Lucy Quinn, still learning the facets of being a GK was once again a game changer in attack for the national side and her understudy Erin Leonard has certainly shown that she will soon be ready for international Beach Soccer.
To cap off a positive weekend for England Beach Soccer, Molly Clark’s magnificent goal tally from the weekend was aptly rewarded with the much converted BSWW Top Goalscorer award.
This group of talented individuals have more than shown that they are ready to compete for awards on the international stage.