England struggled against lowly Portugal to reach the quarter finals of the UEFA Women’s Euro.
Manager Mark Sampson made ten changes to the side that beat Spain, but it looked to have made no difference when a calamitous clearance from the Portuguese goalkeeper instead found Toni Duggan, who managed to lob her to put the Lionesses in front.
England’s lead lasted just ten minutes though when Portugal, ranked a lowly 38 before the tournament, equalised from more poor defending. A cross from Diana Silva wasn’t cleared by England and at the second attempt she found Caroline Mendes at the far post, who slotted in.
The Lionesses only needed a point from this match to finish top of their group and they were ahead just after the restart when a pass split the defence open, Nikita Parris took advantage and placed the ball between the legs of the keeper. There was a late scare when a volley from Laura Luis soared towards goal but it was safely held by Siobhan Chamberlain.
The result means that the Lionesses finish the group stages with an 100% record, the first England team to do so since 1982 and face France in the last eight. However, they haven’t beaten France since 1974 and will hope for a much improved performance if they hope to go further in the tournament. Spain finished as runners-up of Group D, edging Scotland and Portugal to also progress.
What did you make of the match and how far do you think England will go in this tournament? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.